The following is an evolving list of privately-owned / family-owned companies who produce organic foods AND are adamantly opposed to genetic engineering / GMO ingredients. These companies continue to operate independently, which enables them to uphold solid product integrity as well as freedom in educating about GMOs.
The opposite side of this coin are organic brands owned by major food corporations. When an organic brand is controlled by a corporation, product quality can suffer, and worse, your dollars spent on these “corporate organics” all wind up back in the coffers of the corporation—most of whom don’t think GMOs are a problem and/or donated money to prevent GMO labeling.
This doesn’t mean corporate organics aren’t organic, nor does it mean they are no longer GMO-free (provided they’ve been properly certified). It just means the dollars you spend on corporately-owned organic brands are helping to keep GMOs from being labeled. (Feel free to consult my longer list of all GMO-free brands, even though it includes both corporate and private-/family-owned companies.)
Family- and Independently-Owned Organic GMO-Free Brands
Here are the brands I recommend you support because they are organic + GMO free + private-/family owned. The list is by no means complete, I’m publishing what I’ve had time to research first-hand. Please comment and suggest new companies—as long as they are family/privately-owned, and dedicated to organic, GMO free products.
• Amy’s Kitchen: canned soups, chili, beans, pasta sauce, salsas and frozen meals including Light and Lean, Gluten Free, and Light in Sodium for customers with special dietary needs.
• Annie’s Homegrown / Annie’s Naturals: mac-n-cheese in a box, granola bars, fruit snacks, salad dressings, BBQ sauces, mustard, pizza-in-a-box, and cheddar crackers.
• Applegate Farms: this company is co-owned by the McDonnell family, and another family-owned company called Dietz and Watson. They maintain both a “natural” product line and an “organic” product line — deli meats, hamburgers, hot dogs, bacon, sausage and more – all of their organic products are GMO-free, and they specifically address GMOs on this page of their website. Their “natural” products are *not* organic *nor* GMO-free.
• Attune Foods: privately-owned company manufacturing USDA organic, GMO-free, and Non-GMO Project certified cereals under the brand names of Erewhon, Uncle Sam, and Skinner’s.
• Bob’s Red Mill: most (though not all) of their milled grains and grain products (flours, cereals, etc.) are organic and GMO-free; check your labels.
• Clif Bar: the majority of these energy / nutrition bars are not entirely organic / GMO-free (while Clif is committed to sourcing ingredients that are not genetically engineered, only 70% of the company’s purchased ingredients are certified organic). However, Clif Bar just introduced a brand new USDA Certified organic line called Kit’s Organic Fruit and Nut bars. Because these bars are USDA Certified, this means they are GMO free (read more about USDA labeling and organics here). Plus Clif Bar gets big kudos for donating $100,000 in support of California’s GMO Labeling Proposition 37. They were founded and are still run by a husband (Gary Erickson) and wife (Kit Crawford) team.
• Eden Organic: the oldest independent organic food producer in the U.S. makes a wide variety of organic, GMO-free products including soy milk; whole grains and flours; dried fruit, nut, seeds and snacks; canned beans (black, kidney, navy, pinto, garbanzo and cannellini); canned chili; canned and jarred tomatoes and sauces; fruit juices, spreads and butters; condiments including soy sauce, sweeteners, oils, vinegars, spices and herbs; and a wide variety of traditional Japanese products from crackers and mochi, to miso and sea vegetables. Back in 1997, an independent test by the New York Times looking for traces of GMOs in 11 soy and corn-based products found Eden’s milk to be the only product that tested clean, a finding that Eden Foods attributed to their extensive certification and testing program.
• Grindstone Bakery: 100% organic, whole grain, GMO-free bread that is wheat-free, dairy-free, yeast-free, and gluten free.
• Healthy Times: premium baby food, cereal, biscuits and snacks that are USDA certified organic, GMO-free, certified kosher, with special formulas that are wheat free, dairy free, soy free products for sensitive babies
• Late July: organic snacks including chips, saltine crackers, sandwich crackers, cookies, and sandwich cookies (think healthy Oreos!). Note: in 2007, Snyder’s Lance Corporation bought a minority stake.
• Lundberg Family Farms / Wehah Farms: rice and rice-based products (cereals, chips, snack foods and more)
• Mary’s Free Range Turkeys: organic, GMO-free, and free range.
• Nature’s Legacy / VitaSpelt / Purity Foods: GMO-free pasta, granola, flours, and snacks
• Nature’s Path: breakfast cereals, granolas, hot oatmeal, waffles, toaster pastries, pancake mix, and granola / snack bars.
• Nutiva: hemp, coconut, and chia “superfoods”
• Organic Valley: a full range of dairy products, eggs and some produce produced by a cooperative of (mostly) family farms. While this brand is still doing the majority of things correctly, the Cornucopia Institute has downgraded them in recent years due to a growing lack of corporate transparency.
• Pure Bar: all bars are certified GMO free; they have both a USDA Organic line, and a “made with organic ingredients” line.
• Que Pasa: tortilla chips made with GMO-free, 100% organic corn and oil
• Rudi’s Bakery: 100% organic GMO-free bread, rolls and other baked goods; Rudi’s is part of a small, independently owned company called Charter Baking Co., which also owns The Baker, Vermont Bread Company and Matthews All-Natural brands.
• Sambazon: fresh superfood drinks, energy drinks, frozen sorbets and smoothies, and acai supplements, “fiercely committed to Sustainability + all things Organic/Non-GMO”
• SOL Cuisine: organic, Non-GMO, Kosher, Halal, wheat-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan protein products including tofu, veggie burgers, veggie dogs, veggie ribs, falafel, veggie burger dry mix, veggie crumbles and more, including soy-free options.
• SquareBar: Sarah Crawford and Andrew Gordon started these USDA organic, Non-GMO Project certified, gluten-, dairy- and soy free square-shaped bars in their San Francisco kitchen just last year. These are one of the few bars on the market that seems to meet everyone’s dietary issues. If you can’t find them at a store near you (their website has a handy locate map), you can buy ‘em on Amazon.
• Sunshine Burger: Carol Debberman and John Hiler make USDA organic, Non-GMO Project certified, gluten free breakfast patties and veggie (or vegan) burgers (including soy-free options). Their burgers were the first in the U.S. to receive Non-GMO Project certification!
• Uncle Matt’s Organic: founded in 1999 by Matt McLean, these USDA Organic (which means GMO-free) fresh fruit juices have no added fragrance or flavor packs.
• Sweet Creek Foods: organic pickles, including dills, jalapeños and beets, organic fruit spreads, organic salsas, and albacore tuna.
• VitaSpelt (see Nature’s Legacy)
Other Brands that Come Close:
• Beanitos: founded and still run by two brothers, these gluten-free, GMO-free chips are certified by the Non-GMO Project, but are *not* sourced from organic beans.
• Elemental Superfood: this mom-owned, California-based company manufactures “seedbars” that are “made with the highest quality ingredients that are organic and pesticide free, raw, gluten free & dairy free.” A quick scan of their products page and ingredients list shows that the bars are certified as raw and gluten free, but are not certified as organic or GMO free (though the package does carry a “no GMO” graphic). View a list of all of the ingredients here to see which ones are organic and which are not.
• KIND Snacks: founded by a private individual and still controlled by a private company, KIND offers three lines of whole nut and fruit bars. I’ve included them in this section only because their Wiki page claims that “each KIND bar is non GMO.” However let the buyer beware: it does not appear that KIND bars use organic ingredients, and there is no mention about about GMOs or organic (whether pro/con, or usage) on their website.
• Pamela’s: family-owned manufacturer of baking mixes, cookies, cakes and bars that are all GMO-free; most products contain organic ingredients but none are USDA organic (GMO free).
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