What is in this article?:
Does the non-GMO Project verification, increasingly appearing on food, beverage, and personal care products threaten the the future of organics? Organic Connections, the magazine of Natural Vitality, takes a deeper dive.
Compatible with organics
Jim Riddle, coordinator, graduate student organic research grant program at the Ceres Trust and former chair of the National Organic Standards Board, doesn’t see a conflict between non-GMO verified and organic. “Many of those (non-GMO) claims appear on organic products, and they are compatible with organic products and messaging,” he says.
Furthermore Riddle says “Both mandatory GMO labels and voluntary non-GMO labels will force organic producers and marketers to up their game and describe how their production systems have been shown to protect soil health and water quality; prevent pesticide contamination; and build biodiversity better than non-organic systems.”
As Riddle points out, many organic products also feature the Non-GMO Project verified seal. According to Megan Westgate, Non-GMO Project executive director, more than half of the Project’s 9,000 verified products are organic.
Also, leading organic food companies such as Eden Foods, Nature’s Path, and Lundberg Family Farms have been strong supporters of the Non-GMO Project since its founding.
Westgate says both labels are needed to help consumers avoid GMOs. “We are committed to helping people understand the respective values of certified organic and Non-GMO Project verified, and we regularly encourage people to seek out both labels as the gold standard,” she says.
Ken Whitman, president of Natural Vitality [and publisher of Organic Connections], which sells organic supplements that are also Non-GMO Project verified, says the non-GMO label is needed. “All food isn’t organic and in the absence of GMO labeling there needs to be a way shoppers can be assured that the products they are buying are not genetically modified. The Non-GMO Project has filled that need,” he says.