So You Don’t Want GMOs?

You want to avoid eating, planting, and/or storing genetically modified food?

How do you know how to tell when there are no labels (yet)?

I have noticed that there is still much confusion about GMO foods. This article is only covering GMO plants but some applies to GMO animals also.

The short answer is if something is labelled “Organic” it cannot be GMO. Always read labels since the labels hold clues and may contain other information about ingredients you want to avoid.

GMO and GE are terms that tend to be used interchangeably.

GMO = Genentically Modified Organism

GE = Genetically Engineered


Wheat – GMO is not approved so you cannot buy GMO wheat.

Seeds for your garden – only farmer’s can buy GMO seed.

Popcorn – no popcorn is GMO.

Cornmeal or corn for grinding – buy popcorn and grind it. I have always bought popcorn for grinding anyway. Why buy two kinds of corn when you can just grind popcorn?

Corn – Sweet corn – make sure it is labelled Organic or get to know a farmer you can trust. Ask if they plant any GMO corn.

Soybeans – make sure it is labelled Organic or get to know a farmer you can trust. Ask if they plant any GMO soybeans.

Cottonseed oil – avoid cottonseed oil. Why consume an oil of something that you don’t eat?

Canola oil – avoid Canola oil. Why consume an oil of something that you do not eat? I would avoid it anyway since there are other indications that Canola oil is unhealthy.

Sugar – avoid sugar from sugar beets. Use cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, or stevia. You can even grow your own stevia.

Potatoes – created by J.R. Simplot under the name Innate. Does it say that it does not brown or bruise? If so, avoid it.

Apples – avoid apples that say that they don’t brown. Arctic Apple brand in Golden Delicious and Granny Smith varieties.

Papayas – organically grown. Know what that means in the country of origin.

Read labels – reading labels even of things you have been buying for years is always a good idea. Ingredients change and you want to be aware.

Purchase from reputable companies – growers, manufacturers, restaurants, and retail outlets. What is their overall outlook on such things?

As newer GMO products become available it will be easier if you are dealing with those companies that want to avoid GMO.

How is GMO different than hybrid?

Hybrids have been around for thousands of years. Hybrids may happen naturally or be created by man wanting to make improvements or changes in a plant. Hybrids are between things that could naturally combine such as two tomatoes.

GMOs are between things that would never combine in nature such as a potato and a jellyfish (that is the first GMO I heard about) or corn and Bacillus thuringiensis or B.t – a bacteria.

If you plant hybrids and want to save the seed for the next year success is unlikely. Either the collected seed will not grow at all or it will be something different than the plant you saved the seeds from. Hybrids are not the same as GMOs.

Open-pollinated is seed that you can save, should germinate, and should be like the plant it came from.

Heirlooms are open-pollinated plants which have been grown for decades or more. Seeds have been passed down – often through generations of the same family.


Seeds can be heirlooms and open-pollinated.

Seeds can be open-pollinated but not heirlooms.

Seeds cannot be open-pollinated and hybrids.

Seeds cannot be heirlooms and hybrids.

Seeds can be heirlooms and/or open-pollinated and be labelled organic.

Seeds can be hybrid and be labelled as organic

Seeds that are GMO cannot be heirlooms or open-pollinated or labelled as organic.

Looking for more information on GMOs? I have compiled some resources here.

No matter how you feel about GMOs I feel that we have the right to know what is in our food so we can make choices. I encourage you to support efforts to label GMOs in food.