What are GMOs?GMO stands for genetically modified organism. The specific processes behind genetic engineering are complex, but the simple explanation is that genes are taken from one species and forced into the DNA of another species to obtain a desired trait or characteristic. For example, scientists may use the gene of an arctic fish that has frost resistance and inject that gene into the DNA of a tomato plant to increase the "frost resistance" of the tomato. The result is a plant with DNA that is forever altered and one that would not exist under natural conditions.
In the case of the tomato, scientists do not know what else they produced while creating a frost resistant tomato plant. The DNA is forever changed, similar to someone "reprogramming" your computer and telling you that it is safe to use. Until something goes wrong you go on working as usual. This modern splicing of genes into the DNA of another species altogether "forces" changes to our human health and environment that we do not yet fully understand.
Several large corporations are driving the use and development of genetic engineering and are rapidly introducing GMO corn, soybeans, beet sugar and alfalfa into our food chain. The problem with this technology is that scientists will then patent the modified corn or soybean seed, or other modified crop, and then release it into our environment. The true goal is monetary control of our food chain.
Why WholeSoy does not use GMOs.
Genetically modified soybeans do not have any favorable nutritional properties, however, they were developed to be resistant to specific weed poisons. As a result, farmers using genetically modified soybean seeds use a lot of chemicals to control weeds. Neither the genetically engineered soybeans nor the extensive use of these weed poisons have been tested over time. We do not know, for example, if genetically engineered soybeans will cause health issues in the future or if this type of "mono-agriculture" is sustainable.
We believe that a healthy planet is one in which the natural balance of the environment is nurtured and not manipulated. We buy our non-GMO certified organic soybeans from one Texas farmer with whom we have years of trust and we know that these soybeans are the best quality available in the United States. This commitment is not one we take lightly - over 94% of US-grown soybean acreage is planted in GMO soybeans and only 0.3% of US-grown soybean acreage is planted in non-GMO certified organic "food grade" seeds. When you buy organic food your money goes to supporting the small, remaining chemical-free acreage here in the US.
Genetically engineered food is not labeled in the United States as it is in Europe. Even food labeled organic can be contaminated since there is no national testing program. Consumers have no idea of the extent to which their food is genetically engineered.
The Non-GMO Project was borne out of this need for rigorous testing of food, particularly for the organic market. The Project is a volunteer organization committed to preserving truly organic agriculture. The Non-GMO Project uses the Genetic ID lab to test all the ingredients in a product for genetic modification. The verification process is performed in conjunction with Quality Assurance International (QAI), and other certifying agencies, on a yearly basis.
This process is not required under the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)—the oversight organizations of the National Organic Program. It is a grassroots movement ultimately aimed at forcing the FDA and USDA to label all food ingredients containing GMOs. Whole Foods Markets and United Natural Foods, Inc., the country's biggest natural foods distributor, initiated the process and it is growing exponentially as companies continue to enroll in the verification program.
WholeSoy has been involved in the Project since its inception and our founder, Ted Nordquist, has been on the Technical Advisory Committee from the early days of the Project. In early 2010, WholeSoy proudly became the first soy yogurt to finish the verification process—you can find the Non-GMO Project seal on our yogurt cups. When you see this seal on WholeSoy and other products you can be confident that you are purchasing food for your family that is non-GMO.