QIve seen several commercials about a non GMO vitamin brand. How can vitamins be GMO and is this just pandering to people's fears?

Ive seen several commercials about a non GMO vitamin brand. How can vitamins be GMO and is this just pandering to people's fears?

AExpert Answer

Vitamins can be made from natural or synthetic substances and can also involve the use of bacteria, some of this can be derived from genetically engineered substances. Find more information here.


In order for a supplement to be "non-GMO" the manufacturer or brand that uses the vitamins would have to be able to trace multiple aspects of how the vitamins are made. If the supplement manufacturer elects to use "non-GMO" sources and label their product with the "non-GMO project" label it could be more expensive than others. There is no proof that "non-GMO' vitamins are more or less efficacious than their "GMO" counterparts. 


In some cases when brands seek to become "non -GMO" project verified, rather than utilize "non-GMO" vitamins, they simply eliminate vitamins altogether so that they don't have to add to the cost of the product. See this article from NPR on how this happened for cereals. 

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Here is a set of slides prepared by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) that discusses the sketch approval process. As the slides indicate, there are four categories of labels that require prior sketch approval: temporary labels, religious exemption, exports with labeling deviations, and special statements and claims. In the situation raised by your question, it is the last category (special statements and claims) that would... Read More
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The broad scientific definition of a GMO is any organism that has had its genome (DNA) modified. This of course includes virtually all food crops as domestication or breeding is, by its very nature, the modification of the genome of that crop. There are very few foods that have not been genetically modified by humans: wild fish, game, berries and mushrooms.   Some “traditional” forms of breeding cause massive changes to the DNA. Examples include ionizing radiation... Read More

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