Several organic indus­try experts say that edu­cated organic con­sumers would already know that organic is one of their best options to avoid GMOs since the National Organic Program rules con­sider genetic engi­neer­ing an “excluded method.”

“The true organic dis­ci­ple will under­stand that ‘organic’ has to be non-GMO,” says Steve Ford, pres­i­dent of Stonebridge, Ltd., a sup­plier of non-GMO and organic soybeans.  

“When it comes to label­ing non-GMO prod­ucts it must be under­stood that if you’re certitied organic then you’re non-GMO,” saysRandal Buresh, pres­i­dent of Oregon’s Wild Harvest. “The Non-GMO Project may help spread the word about organic farming, helping to clarify what being organic is all about.”

Brendan McEntee, pres­i­dent of Cook Natural Products (also not a Non-GMO Project com­pany), agrees. “For the informed organic con­sumer there will not be any con­fu­sion about organic not being non-GMO.”

Though he also says “Certain organic products may lose mar­ket share to cer­ti­fied non-GMO.”

Bob Sinner, pres­i­dent, SB&B Foods, a sup­plier of non-GMO and organic grains, sees a place for both non-GMO and organic label­ing. “I under­stand why the organic folks might try to protect their labeling turf, but as a uni­fied effort to sup­port the con­sumers that reject biotech I would hope they real­ize the ben­e­fits of both non-GMO and organic label­ng,” he says.

Whitman con­curs. “I don’t think we need a turf war between organic and non-GMO. It wouldn’t be pro­duc­tive. GMO is unpopular with health-conscious shop­pers. Organic is pop­u­lar. Can’t we just get along?” he says.