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Non-GMO Project Verified
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LABEL REPORT CARD
How meaningful is the label? Is the label verified? Is the meaning of the label consistent? Are the label standards publicly available? Is information about the organization publicly available? Is the organization free from conflict of interest? Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?
Meaningful Yes Yes Yes Yes and No1 No Yes
1. Members of the Board of Directors and their affiliations, and members of the Standard Committee, are listed on the website. The names of major donors are not available on the website or the IRS Form 990.
 
LABEL CATEGORY:
Not Genetically Modified (non-GMO), Sustainable Fishing, Low contaminant levels
 
WHERE YOU'LL FIND THIS LABEL:

 FOOD
  • BEEF
  • COFFEE, CHOCOLATE AND TEA
  • EGGS
  • FISH
  • FRUIT
  • LAMB
  • OTHER BEVERAGES
  • PORK
  • POULTRY
  • PROCESSED FOOD AND NUTS
  • VEGETABLES, LEGUMES AND GRAINS
  •  
     
    WHAT THIS LABEL MEANS:
    The Non-GMO Project Verified label means that the product has been made without the intentional use of genetically engineered ingredients (GMOs), and that procedures were put in place to prevent contamination with GMOs. For ingredients or other inputs that are at high risk of being genetically engineered or contaminated, such as corn and soy, the standards require testing for GMOs.

    The label does not guarantee that the product is “GMO-free,” but aims to provide assurance that the product contains levels of GMOs that are less than 0.5% in foods, personal care products or dietary supplements, and less than 0.9% in textiles or cleaning products.
     
    CONSUMERS UNION EVALUATION:
    How meaningful is the label?

    Meaningful.

    The standards for the Non-GMO Project Verified not only require that all ingredients and inputs used be non-genetically engineered (non-GMO), but also require that preventive procedures be followed to avoid unintentional contamination with GMOs. Such procedures involve verifying that the ingredients were produced under conditions designed to avoid cross- contamination, and segregating the ingredients verified to be non-GMO from non-verified (and therefore possibly GMO) ingredients.

    While the program requires testing for high-risk ingredients, such as corn and soy, the standards allow the manufacturer to collect the samples and send them to the testing laboratory. The program has a surveillance testing program where staff and inspectors sometimes collect samples. But since finding GMO contamination at the laboratory can be costly to manufacturers, the program would be more meaningful if all samples were collected by a third party.

    While the label is consistently truthful, it is not always meaningful, since it also appears on foods that would not typically contain genetically engineered ingredients. Some crops have been genetically engineered and their genetically engineered varieties are grown on a wide scale (e.g., corn, soybeans). The label is very meaningful for products containing these ingredients. But other common crops, especially most fruits and vegetables, do not have genetically engineered varieties that are commercially available. Yet products that contain no ingredients that could be genetically engineered can also carry the Non-GMO Project Verification seal.

    Is the label verified?

    Yes.

    The Non-GMO Project requires an annual audit, along with on-site inspections and laboratory testing for ingredients that are at high risk of being genetically engineered (“high risk” ingredients).

    The standards require that an accredited laboratory must perform a comprehensive test for high risk ingredients.

    Is the meaning of the label consistent?

    Yes.

    Are the label standards publicly available?

    Yes.

    Is information about the organization publicly available?

    Yes and No.

    Board of Directors: Yes. The organization is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Members of the Board of Directors and their affiliations, and members of the Standard Committee, are listed on the website.

    Funding: No. The organization’s IRS Form 990 lists “program service revenue” and “contributions, gifts and grants” as the two major sources of funding. The names of major donors are not available on the website or the IRS Form 990.

    Is the organization free from conflict of interest?

    No.

    Board of Directors: A number of members on the Board of Directors are employees or executives of companies that are certified. The Board of Directors holds final decision-making authority over the standards, and there is no conflict of interest policy.

    Verification: Samples for testing can be collected and sent to the laboratory by the manufacturer. Sample collection is therefore not always free from conflict of interest.

    Was the label developed with broad public and industry input?

    Yes.

    The standards were developed with broad industry input and draft standards were made available to the public for comment. When standards are updated, they are posted on the website and public comments are accepted during each updating cycle.
     
    PROGRAM NAME:
    The Non-GMO Project
     
    ORGANIZATION:
    The Non-GMO Project
    http://www.nongmoproject.org
     
    LABEL STANDARDS:
    http://www.nongmoproject.org/product-verification/non-gmo-project-standard/
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