Does Organic = Non-GMO?

Here’s something I’ve wondered about, but never felt I had a 100% sure answer on… If something is labeled organic, does that mean it’s not a genetically modified food? I found some information that seems like it might answer my question on the USDA website ...

Q: Are food labels stating “GM, GE, or GMO-free” part of the National Organic Standards? A: They are not. Truthful labeling is embodied in the National Organic Standards, as supported by USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – the agencies with respective jurisdiction over truthful labeling laws. In the preamble of the National Organic Program final regulations, we stated that organic is not synonymous with “GM-free,” when we said: “These phrases may…be used as additional, eco-labels, provided they are truthful statements…[but] they are not permitted as replacements for the term ‘organic.’” (See page 80586 of the preamble, under “Labeling—Changes Requested But Not Made: (7) Use of Other Terms as Synonymous for “organic”).

But I can’t even tell if that answers my question! Does that make sense to anyone?!? Is my organic food GMO or not?


  • “organic” is a regulated term. that means that food must meet certain criteria, including but not limited to being non-gmo, pesticide-free, chemical-free, hormone-free, etc.

    that statement from the usda website is referring to terms such as “non-gmo” which is not regulated, meaning anyone can put that on their label without necessarily having to prove it. in other words, being non-gmo does not mean it is definitely organic (because it could still be farmed with pesticides), but if it is certified organic, you know that it is non-gmo.

    wow, did i just make it worse??? i hope not.

  • No, thanks, that helps a lot. I suspected that I was misinterpreting that USDA quote. That’s good to hear!

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