Lately we’ve noticed that some coffee companies have started to label their beans as ‘non-GMO’. Labeling something as non-GMO implies that there is a GMO version available. Does that mean that there is GMO coffee on the market? We did the research and thought we would share.
For many industries such as corn, soy and dairy milk, non-GMO is an important label used to signal quality. However, in the case of coffee the non-GMO label is quite misleading.
While GMO coffee has been developed and Nestlé obtained a patent for genetically modified coffee seeds in 2006, there are no GMO coffees commercially available in the marketplace.
For products where a commercially available GMO version exists, companies must have their product tested and evaluated for non-GMO certification. Since green coffee has virtually no risk of being GMO, testing is not required and non-GMO certification can simply be purchased by a roaster.
Now that you have the facts, you might wonder why companies have started labeling their coffee non-GMO. The answer is simple — Marketing.
Companies have started using this marketing tactic to signal to consumers that their coffee is healthier than other coffees. However, this standard really means nothing in the coffee realm as non-GMO coffee is not available.
If you are health conscious and would like to control what is going into your body, the organic standard is the best way to ensure that the beans are traceable, and that toxic chemicals are not used in production or processing. Furthermore, both the USDA Organic and Fair Trade certification standards prohibit the use of GMOs.
The companies out there trying to profit off of consumers’ fears should revisit the FDA’s industry guidance on voluntary labeling of GMOs (Section 2B), which discusses statements about foods that are not derived from genetically engineered plants.
“Another example of a statement in food labeling that may be false or misleading could be the statement “None of the ingredients in this food is genetically engineered” on a food where some of the ingredients are incapable of being produced through genetic engineering (e.g., salt).”
♥ Peace Love and Coffee, Joan & David