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Test Your GMO Knowledge

GMOs are a hotly debated topic, and concern about their safety has prompted many food manufacturers to use non-GMO ingredients. Some foods or ingredients are labeled as "non-GMO" or certified by the Non-GMO Project ( However, there are other ways to tell if a food is likely (or not) to contain GMOs. Do you know how? Take our quiz to find out.

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GMOs and genetically engineered foods are the same thing.

a) True

b) False

Organic foods can contain GMOs.

a) True

b) False

Crops that are almost always genetically modified include:

a) Corn

b) Soy

c) Rice

d) Only a and b

e) Only b and c

f) Only a and c

g) All of the above

Sugar is genetically modified:

a) Always

b) Never

c) Sometimes

Which of these are most likely to contain GMOs?

a) Pita

b) Naan

c) Tortillas

d) Pasta

e) All of the above

f) Only a, b, and c

Some of the salmon sold today has been genetically modified.

a) True

b) False

Which of these may be genetically modified:

a) Hawaiian papaya

b) Zucchini

c) Yellow summer squash

d) Canola oil

e) All of the above

1. a) “GMOs” stands for “genetically modified organisms,” which means plants, animals, or microorganisms (such as bacteria) that have had foreign genes introduced into their genetic codes through manipulation in a lab. The process, which began more than 20 years ago, can also be described as genetic engineering. It isn’t the same as breeding of plants or animals, which has been going on for thousands of years.

2. b) According to the legal standards that govern organic foods in the United States, organic foods cannot be genetically modified. That means organic plant foods cannot be grown from genetically modified seeds, and animals raised according to organic standards cannot eat genetically modified feed, such as GMO corn, soy, or alfalfa.

3. d) Almost all nonorganic corn and soy sold in the U.S. has been genetically modified. GMO corn and soy are found in many processed foods, snacks, and candies because they’re used to make a variety of ingredients, such as high fructose corn syrup, maltodextrin, soy sauce, and vegetable protein.

4. c) Sugar can come from two different plants: sugar beets or sugar cane. Sugar beets are typically genetically modified, but sugar cane is not. When an ingredient is listed as “sugar” or “sucrose,” it likely comes from GMO sugar beets, unless the food is certified organic. “Cane sugar” and “cane juice” are not GMOs, even if the food is not organic. High fructose corn syrup, made from corn, is typically a GMO.

5. c) Traditional tortillas are made of corn, which is most often genetically modified unless it’s organic. Naan, pita, and pasta are made of wheat flour, which is not genetically modified. Flour tortillas are not likely to contain GMOs because they’re made of wheat flour.

6. b) In November 2015, the FDA approved a genetically modified salmon, but two months later, the agency reversed its stand and banned sale of the fish until labeling rules can be finalized.

7. e) Unless they’re organic, most Hawaiian papaya and canola oils, and some zucchini and yellow summer squash, are genetically modified.