Increasingly more people are opting for healthier choices when it comes to what they put in, on, and around their bodies. We are living in a more transparent world, where we can research ingredients and look for certain labels to help us decide which products to choose.
For those of us who are concerned with genetically-modified foods, it’s important to check labels before you buy anything, including kombucha. Is certified organic kombucha GMO-free? While most manufacturers choose to label their products with the organic and/or non-GMO insignia to advertise their adherence to certain standards, not all do. Those who do use GMOs in their products definitely won’t disclose for fear of deterring a customer.
First, let’s define what a GMO is. Genetically modified foods can be defined as organisms (plants or animals) in which genetic material (DNA) has been altered in a way that does not occur naturally by mating and/or natural recombination.
According to the USDA, “The use of genetic engineering, or genetically modified organisms (GMOs), is prohibited in organic products.” In order to be labeled as organic, farmers and producers must prove they aren’t using any GMOs and they are protecting their products from contact with any GMOs. These strict guidelines aren’t easy or inexpensive to follow.
For instance, organic farmers must consider the farming practices of neighboring farms to avoid cross-contamination with GMOs and synthetic pesticides and hormones, either by water runoff or pollination. Farmers must be careful with the equipment they may share with other farmers for the same reason. These are just a few of the extra steps organic farmers must take.
If kombucha carries the USDA Organic label, you can rest assured it does not contain any GMOs. At Brew Dr. Kombucha, everything from our tea leaves to our botanicals and sugar is organic. No GMOs. Ever. We work directly with our tea growers around the world to make sure we know their growing processes so we can guarantee our tea leaves are non-GMO. We put the same care into each ingredient in every flavor of Brew Dr. Kombucha. That’s just the way we do things here.
When you are looking for organic, GMO-free kombucha, be sure you check the labels. Not all kombuchas are. If you don’t see the USDA Organic label, the manufacturer can claim their ingredients are organic, but there is no oversight. The label means the USDA has evaluated and certified the product adheres to their strict farming and producing guidelines.
If you care about organic and GMO-free foods, you probably have a special place in your heart for the environment and our planet. We do too. We know that organic farming protects the soil and groundwater from toxic chemicals. And while some GMO products are proven safe for humans and the environment, such as Ruby Red grapefruit and seedless watermelons, the jury is still out on other foods, like genetically-modified salmon. For us, we choose to eliminate all doubt and select only non-GMO ingredients for our kombuchas.
We are also the first national kombucha company to become B Corp certified. That means we are legally required to consider the impact of our decisions on our shareholders, workers, suppliers, community, consumers and the environment. After a rigorous assessment, we were awarded the designation. So, what do we do to impact our stakeholders? Well, to start, our 100% renewable energy initiatives save nearly 1.5 million pounds of CO2 annually from entering the atmosphere. We also repurpose 100% of the alcohol produced during the kombucha fermentation process into our delicious tea-based spirits or we distill it into pure ethanol as an energy source.
We also choose to participate in the 1% for the Planet initiative, donating 1% of the revenue of every bottle (and can) of our Love kombucha flavor to non-profits focused on benefiting our local communities. It’s just one more investment we make into the health and wellbeing of our planet and the people who live on it.