The topic of non-GMO foods has come up a lot recently and we wanted to take some time to share our position and to clear up any mis-information that might be out there about us or about our popcorn or Popping Sorghum.
The issue of Genetically Modified Organisms is important to us, as well as to many other folks and especially to our customers, most of whom are foodies at heart. At JustPoppin.com™ we sell only NON-GMO popcorn and NON-GMO Popping Sorghum. NONE of our popcorn or Popping Sorghum varieties is a GMO. NONE OF THEM. We state it repeatedly throughout our website – on every single product page for our popcorn and for our Popping Sorghum – our products are NON GMO.
But what does that mean? (We hope you’ll stick around and read the rest to find out!) According to Wikipedia, a genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. In layman’s terms, GMO means manipulating the genes of plants and animals through unnatural processes and sometimes even adding genes to organisms that do not naturally occur in those organisms – for instance adding fish genes to tomatoes to resist freezing damage. On the other hand, every NON-GMO product you eat is the result of natural breeding and cross-breeding of plants or animals using the same techniques humans have used to breed plants and animals for thousands of years.
Our popcorn and Popping Sorghum is bred NATURALLY by our growers using these age old and time-tested techniques. In very simplistic terms, pollen from male plants with desirable characteristics is mixed and applied by hand to female plants with desirable characteristics. This is done over and over through generation after generation in order to reach a hybrid or naturally reproducing plant that exhibits the characteristics we want – like good popping performance or large mushroom flakes. This is NOT genetic modification and any variety of plant created using only these types of techniques is by definition, NON-GMO. To preserve the performance of the resulting plants, they must be planted separately from other types of popcorn and sorghum – and they are – VERY separately.
We are a “mom & pop” type company. Our business’s existence depends on the sale of unique varieties of popcorn and sorghum that we have identified through extensive research and development. We are allowed by law to protect that research and development by restricting how our products are used in order to prevent unscrupulous individuals from stealing the work our growers have done (which has taken years and years and cost thousands and thousands of dollars). It’s similar to how copyright protects a photographer from having her work copied and resold by someone else.
What this basically boils down to is that you can buy our popcorn and Popping Sorghum to eat (or feed it to your pets or animals if you like!) or you can resell it as food. You just can’t experiment on, germinate, or plant and grow our popcorn or Popping Sorghum.
US plant variety protections are not specifically related to GMOs. And sometimes, people who don’t fully understand farming will make generalized assumptions and false claims about the protections of plant varieties and the “statements of acceptable use” used by companies like us. (Here, we’re referring to the “Restriction on Use” statement you will see on our packaging, which as you now know, just means that our product is for eating only.)
These laws protect the business of companies like ours who work incredibly hard to bring great products to their customers. They keep us from being overrun by companies like Amazon and Monsanto who have much greater resources than we do. Without these protections, large companies can reproduce the products of companies like ours for pennies on the dollar, sell them for less than it costs us to produce, and put us (as well as other small businesses) out of business.
So don’t forget, this goes both ways – while a company like Monsanto can protect its GMO products from reproduction by others, companies like ours can protect our NON-GMO, pure plant varieties from them too!
We have an unwavering commitment to our friends in the foodie community as well as to those in the gluten free and non-GMO communities. We take that commitment VERY seriously and we pledge that not only are our popcorns and sorghums gluten free, but they are also NON-GMO.
Please feel free to contact us if you have additional questions.
Jennie & Buck
Post script: Some folks have asked why we don’t have some type of non-GMO certification. The reason is cost. The process of getting certified starts roughly in the neighborhood of $10,000 and goes up from there. If anyone reading this would like to contribute to our getting certified or pay for it outright, we won’t turn it down.