- GMO — yes or no?
All King Arthur flours are non-GMO. King Arthur Flour is milled from wheat sourced exclusively from North America; GMO wheat is not approved for sale or commercial production in North America.
- Why don’t you label your flour “non-GMO”?
Since we know there are no GMOs in the wheat supply, we believe this step is unnecessary.
Purchasing certified organic flours is also an option. Organic products must be GMO-free by definition and are certified by a third party.
- What are GMOs?
- Genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, are organisms whose genetic makeup was not created through traditional cross-breeding methods (hybridization) or naturally in the wild. This manipulation of DNA is known as genetic engineering, so GMO foods are often called “genetically engineered.” GMOs are found extensively in major crops grown in the United States, like corn and soy.
- Our commitment to quality
- King Arthur Flour is committed to providing consumers with top-quality flour and baking ingredients. We regularly visit family farms where our wheat is grown and work closely with the farmers to ensure they're growing wheat with superb baking qualities.
- Are all of your products non-GMO?
- No. We do strive to source non-GMO products. In many cases we're unable to trace and verify individual ingredients all the way up the food chain.
- Then what are you doing to keep GMOs out of your products?
We always specify non-GMO ingredients when we develop new products. If we can’t find a non-GMO source for an ingredient, we then try different formulations that do not use the ingredient.
If after testing, we decide that the product is better with the available (non-verified) ingredient, we may choose to use it based on performance, taste, and texture. An example of this is our products containing chocolate (and we love chocolate!). Most chocolate contains soy lecithin, an emulsifier. About 90-95% of the soy grown in the USA is GMO.
Chocolate from non-GMO soy lecithin that meets our taste and texture requirements is not always consistently available. In these cases, we may choose to use one containing soy lecithin. Of course we would never use any ingredient that we thought to be unsafe or inferior in any way. Lecithin has been derived from GMO soy for almost 20 years now.
In certain cases where there are known non-GMO alternatives available, we choose to pay a higher price for the non-GMO version. We buy non-GMO cornstarch at a higher cost; we buy baking powder containing non-GMO cornstarch at a higher cost.
- What about GMO-derived ingredients?
We use very small amounts of certain ingredients (i.e., enzymes) that are made by genetically modified organisms but do not themselves contain GMOs. These ingredients meet European Union non-GMO standards.
We make decisions to use these ingredients because of their functional properties. We never make the decision to use a GMO-containing or GMO-derived ingredient simply because it is “cheaper.”
- Are you a part of the non-GMO movement?
King Arthur Flour has a long history of fighting to keep GMOs out of the wheat supply. As long ago as 1999, we began inquiring about the GMO status of the wheat we were buying. We notified our suppliers that we expected non-GMO wheat and let them know we were in support of keeping the wheat supply free of GMOs. We have also taken every opportunity to discuss the issue with our elected officials at every level of government and to show our support for a GMO-free food supply.
And every day we have discussions with our vendors, encouraging them to source non-GMO and requiring them to provide documentation for the status of their ingredients. We talk regularly with farmers and millers, expressing our desire to keep GMOs out of the food chain. It’s this daily pressure on the suppliers in the industry—showing them there is a demand for non-GMO ingredients—that is perhaps the most persuasive thing we can do.
Using the power of business as a force for good—that’s what it means to be a certified B Corporation.
- How about wheat hybridization? Isn’t today’s wheat genetically modified?
Very few organisms have been subject to the type of genetic engineering known as GMO—where genetic material from one species is artificially inserted into the DNA of another species. Virtually all plants, however, have evolved naturally or have been altered through cross-breeding within the same species, yielding new varieties.
The wheat we harvest and consume today is the result of many years of traditional (selective) breeding by farmers and scientists (remember Gregor Mendel?), where the desirable traits of two different wheat plants (of the same species) are combined in a new hybrid by mating different parent varieties. Before humans began to facilitate this hybridization, the process happened naturally when different varieties of wheat cross-pollinated; hybridization has been going on, so far as agricultural historians are able to track, for nearly 10,000 years.
Traits identified as desirable in wheat include better drought tolerance, fuller seed heads, better baking quality and shorter stalks, among others. Continuing hybridization has led to wheat varieties that use fewer resources (fertilizer, water, fuel) and yield more wheat per acre.