At Chagrin Valley Soap & Salve
we do not use GMO ingredients!
What is a GMO?
The acronym GMO stands for Genetically Modified Organisms. It refers to any animal, plant or microorganism that has been changed in a lab at the gene level. It is also known as “genetic engineering."
In this process, genes from one animal, plant or microorganism are inserted into another, which irreversibly changes the genetic code, the “blueprint,” that determines all of an organism’s characteristics.
These new traits allow the “new things” to grow faster, resist insects and weed killers and stay fresh longer. Soybeans that are resistant to weed killers, potatoes that produce their own pesticides and insect-protected cotton are some examples.
How Is Genetic Engineering Different From Traditional Breeding?
For centuries farmers and breeders have used selective breeding techniques with plants and animals to produce desirable traits. Although both genetic engineering and selective breeding allow humans to change a plant or animal, the mechanism for change in old fashioned breeding techniques is VERY different from what is going on today with GMO’s.
Selective breeding is a way for humans to nurture desirable traits in plants and animals. Selective breeding uses the natural process of breeding to encourage desirable characteristics in the offspring, whereas genetic engineering creates new traits.
For example, let’s say that I have a tomato garden that produces large juicy tomatoes but some are tasty and some are not. If I only allow the flavorful tomatoes to breed with each other, over time I will have a crop of large, juicy, flavorful tomatoes. Although I may have used human intervention to select the traits that I desire in my tomato plants, I have not changed the genetic blueprint.
A real example of selective breeding is the high "oleic" sunflower oil now available in your supermarket.
Through selective breeding techniques the linoleic acid, naturally present in sunflower oil, was "replaced" with oleic acid in order to make it more similar to olive oil. Although there is no such thing in nature as high oleic sunflower oil seeds, and it is man made, it was changed via old fashioned breeding techniques.
Old fashioned breeding techniques are VERY different from what is going on today with GMO’s. GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals.
These laboratory combinations of genes from different species could never occur in nature or in traditional selective breeding. There is nothing natural about taking genes from a fish and splicing them it into a tomato plant or creating a goat that makes spider silk in its milk. (Above picture from gmoanswers.com)
Why GMO's Are A Concern?
While proponents of genetic engineering believe that this technology will make it possible to produce enough food to ensure that everyone in the world has enough to eat, the health risks of genetically altered plants, animals and foods have not been clearly identified. Many scientists believe that it is likely that genetically modified foods will trigger allergic reactions, create new toxins that will produce disease and lead to even more antibiotic resistance.
Although you do not eat products made by Chagrin Valley, we are very concerned with the environmental impact of GMO’s. For example, farmers and environmentalists are worried that crops that are genetically engineered to be resistant to herbicides, such soybeans, will result in heavier herbicide use, further polluting the groundwater, lakes, and rivers.
GMOs may also be toxic to organisms like bees and butterflies. Bees are extremely important in the pollination of many food crops but have become endangered due to modern agricultural techniques, such as GM crops.
Even biodiversity can be affected--the planting of GMOs means fewer weeds and wildflowers. Toxins released into the soil through the GMO plants will lead to fewer soil bacteria needed to maintain healthy soil. And the list goes on.
Since the U.S. National Organics Program forbids the use of genetic modification in products to be certified as organic, purchasing organic is a great way to lower your exposure to GMO’s.
Chagrin Valley Soap is a USDA Certified Organic company. We are required to submit documentation that ALL of our ingredients, even our "non-organic ingredients," were produced without the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).