There’s a hot, new food label on the block: the Non GMO Verified Seal. GMO labeling is just as hot a topic as GMOs (the source of genetically modified foods), and Congress is heavily involved in the labeling debate.

Government arguments aside, if you are determined to eat GMO-free starting today, it could cost you a little more on your monthly grocery bill.

Why and When Non-GMO Costs More
The USDA does not require foods with GMO ingredients (most commonly soy, corn, zucchini, milk, and several others) to be labeled, so the Non-GMO Project stepped in with their own “non-GMO” seal, believing consumers deserve to know what they’re eating. Recently, the USDA decided to certify non-GMO foods, but labeling is not mandatory, and states started taking action. Companies that want to indicate their products as GMO-free will pay for the certification.

Between paying for the non-GMO designation, and the higher cost of producing fruits and vegetables organically, companies might have occasion to charge more to cover the cost, so in general, it’ll cost you more when you see “non-GMO.” If it’s just a label change to indicate what’s already inside, then the food shouldn’t cost more, but some reports say labeling changes could add up to hundreds of dollars extra per family, per year. In other cases, the cost can depend on the supply of non-gmo ingredients, as demand rises.

Should You Choose To Pay More?
Some experts say paying more non-GMO is definitely worth it, considering the number of fruits and veggies that are considered risky and the potential health risks of eating GM foods.

With the long-term health impacts of eating a diet with GMO foods are still being researched, some reports indicate GMO foods can be linked to infertility, food allergies, and cancer, to name a few conditions. Other reports found no difference in GMO and non-GMO feed for livestock production, and that there is “zero extraordinary impact” on us.

As the planet’s population continues to grow, and food needs along with it, GMO’s are probably here to stay. You’ll be making the choice to go GMO-free – or not – and pay more, depending on what items you pick up.

If a non-GMO life is your path, the most sure-fire way to make sure you eat a diet that’s GMO-free is to: 1) eat non-processed foods, only, and 2) eat USDA Certified Organic fruits and vegetables, which are not allowed to contain any GMO qualities.

Your choice, whatever it is, will be easier to identify as the labeling gets more common. Just don’t expect the debate (and some confusion) to end anytime soon. Do what’s right for you.