Increasingly, consumers are relying on third-party certifications to determine whether products meet their standards for non-GMO, organic or natural.
Top of mind is the Non-GMO Project Verified seal, which has seen immense growth in recent years. According research from SPINS, cited by Kate Lloyd in the article, “Removing GMOs," total sales of Non-GMO Project verified products jumped from USD $348.8 million in 2010 to $10 billion in 2015. In addition, she noted there are currently more than 27,000 Non-GMO Project Verified products representing more than 2,600 brands.
However, new third-party certification are arriving on the food and beverage scene, including “Non-GMO True North" from NSF International and “Organic is Non-GMO & More" from CCOF.
NSF Non-GMO True North expands NSF’s suite of GMO transparency services for retailers, manufacturers, suppliers and producers. The new non-GMO certification, available through NSF International’s Consumer Values Verified™ Program, is offered in addition to Non-GMO Project verification.
NSF’s Non-GMO True North certification utilizes elements of global and domestic GMO labeling regulations, including European Union and Vermont GMO labeling requirements. The certification gives credit for food safety quality system best practices including segregation, traceability and supplier approval and monitoring programs. Additionally, to ensure consumer confidence and transparency, NSF Non-GMO True North requires risk assessment-based unannounced audits, unannounced chain of custody sampling and independent testing. It also requires manufacturers to perform routine testing.
“NSF Non-GMO True North is an expansion in non-GMO certification services that will help consumers make an informed decision about the food they eat, as more products in the marketplace are able to be independently certified by a trusted third-party certifier," said Jaclyn Bowen, director of NSF International’s Consumer Values Verified Program. “As consumer demands for non-GMO products grow, NSF Non-GMO True North offers producers (including ranchers and farmers), processors and manufacturers a solution that utilizes fundamentals of other current and emerging regulatory and food safety requirements."
The “Organic is Non-GMO & More" seal from CCOF requires products carrying the seal are non-GMO and also prohibit the use of antibiotics and growth hormones, among other requirements. Products bearing the label are already appearing in retail outlets such as Costco and Whole Foods. The seal is exclusive to CCOF members.