Following three rounds of public comment, the Non-GMO Project recently published version 12 of its comprehensive Standard for GMO avoidance. The only standard of its kind, the Non-GMO Project Standard has been subject to public comment periods and corresponding development since 2007. The Standard is the foundation of the Project’s verification program, through which products earn the right to use the iconic non-GMO butterfly label. To date, more than 33,000 products have achieved compliance.
“Prescribing best practices for GMO avoidance is a highly specialized, technical undertaking,” said Non-GMO Project Executive Director Megan Westgate. “Finished products cannot be reliably tested for GMO content; our standard requires engagement from the full supply chain to ensure meaningful testing. Process-based specifications for traceability and segregation practices complement the comprehensive ongoing testing requirements. We are always seeking a balance between meaningfulness and achievability.”
The new Standard reflects input from a record number of public commenters, with more than 300 stakeholders weighing in on critical topics ranging from synthetic biology to livestock feed. All input is reviewed and deliberated on by a Board-appointed Standard Committee of expert representatives, and proposed changes are presented for further public input prior to ratification. “We are committed to transparency and rigor,” said Westgate. “Our Standard revision process reflects a core belief in people’s right to participate in shaping the future of food.”
Version 12 of the Non-GMO Project Standard also reflects a complete overhaul of the formatting. “Standards are notoriously dense and difficult to navigate,” continued Westgate. “With this redesign, the Non-GMO Project Standard has become one of the cleanest, most navigable product standards in the world.” The new format includes a number of features for enhanced accessibility, including information mapping, a reorganized table of contents, and hyperlinked section references.
With experimental genetic engineering techniques emerging at a rapid pace, the Non-GMO Project Standard continues to respond and evolve. The next opportunity for public input to the Standard will be during the 2015 comment period, beginning later this month. Information about the process, as well as an outline of changes from version 11 to version 12 of the standard, can be found on the Non-GMO Project’s website.
About the Non-GMO Project
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. Find out more at www.nongmoproject.org.