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.