What are GMOs?
GMOs, or “genetically modified organisms,” are plants or animals created through the gene splicing techniques of biotechnology (also called genetic engineering, or GE). This experimental technology merges DNA from different species, creating unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding.
For consumers, it can be difficult to stay up-to-date on food ingredients that are at-risk of being genetically modified, as the list of at-risk agricultural ingredients is frequently changing. As part of the Non-GMO Project’s commitment to informed consumer choice, we work diligently to maintain an accurate list of risk ingredients.
Agricultural products are segmented into two groups: (1) those that are high-risk of being GMO because they are currently in commercial production, and (2) those that have a monitored risk because suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred and/or the crops have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination (and consequently contamination) is possible.
Are GMOs Safe to Consume?
In more that 60 countries around the world, there are restrictions or outright bans on GMOs. Though not banned in the US, consumers have started making their own deicisions to avoid GMOs. The number of individuals who have elected to not eat foods containing GMOs is rapidly increasing.
What does “Non-GMO Project Verified seal” mean?
The verification seal indicates that the product bearing the seal has gone through our verification process. Our verification is an assurance that a product has been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO avoidance:
- Require ongoing testing of all at-risk ingredients—any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form must be tested prior to use in a verified product.
- Use an Action Threshold of 0.9%. This is in alignment with laws in the European Union, where any product containing more than 0.9% GMO must be labeled. Absence of all GMOs is the target for all Non-GMO Project Standard compliant products. Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.
- After the test, require rigorous traceability and segregation practices to be followed in order to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product.
- For low-risk ingredients, conduct a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets to determine absence of GMO risk.
- Verification is maintained through an annual audit, along with onsite inspections for high-risk products.
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