What Grains Are Not GMO?

Tractor and Soybean Field
Soybeans in field. (Image: Fuse/Fuse/Getty Images)

A GMO, or genetically modified organism, can be defined as a plant or animal that is created or modified through genetic engineering. This technology allows DNA from one species to be transferred into another species. Several major U.S. crops are largely composed of genetically engineered versions of their traditional counterparts. Grains, for the most part. are not genetically engineered.

Grains Are Not High-Risk

Blend of broccoli, alfalfa, clover and radish sprouts in wooden
Alfalfa sprouts. (Image: imarly/iStock/Getty Images)

The Non-GMO Project lists eight crops or foods that are considered "high-risk" due to their widespread use. These crops include alfalfa, soy, papaya, cotton, corn, canola, sugar beets and zucchini. Corn, cotton, canola, soy and sugar beets are particularly prevalent, with around 90 percent or higher crop domination. There are no grain crops that are considered high-risk for being genetically modified.

Monitored Grains

Gold wheat field and blue sky
Wheat field. (Image: jeka1984/iStock/Getty Images)

The Non-GMO Project also lists a number of monitored crops that have the potential to become contaminated through cross-pollination of other genetically engineered crops. In some instances genetically engineered versions of these crops have been developed but are not currently used in production because they have not received U.S. Department of Agriculture approval. Among these crops are wheat and rice.

GM Wheat

Organic ingredients for bread preparation
Wheat is often GM. (Image: Paul Grecaud/iStock/Getty Images)

The bio-tech and agricultural company Monsanto has developed genetically modified wheat, but the USDA has yet to approve it. There have been reports of contamination by genetically modified wheat into traditional wheat fields. These incidents are isolated, however, and do not present a high risk to average consumers who wish to avoid genetically modified wheat.

Golden Rice

paddy rice seed.
Golden rice. (Image: tropper2000/iStock/Getty Images)

A variety of genetically modified rice known as Golden Rice has been in development since the 1990s. This rice was engineered to produce pro-vitamin A, as a way to correct vitamin A deficiencies in developing countries. Golden Rice may be able to contaminate traditional rice through cross-pollination. This rice, however, is not used in the United States.

No-Risk Grains

Bag of wheat
Non GM grains. (Image: Han v. Vonno/iStock/Getty Images)

There are a number of grains for which no GM varieties exist, and there is no risk of contamination for these crops. If you want to be 100 percent certain you're consuming GMO-free grains, your options include amaranth, barley, buckwheat, bulgur, einkorn, farro, grano, kamut, millet, oats, quinoa, rye, sorghum, spelt, teff and triticale.

REFERENCES & RESOURCES
Comments
PARTNER & LICENSEE OF THE LIVESTRONG FOUNDATION

Copyright © 2018 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy. The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.