Archive for the ‘Blog’ Category

Non-GMO Project Continues to Expand Verification Capacity

Friday, April 3rd, 2015

Non-GMO Project VerifiedParticipants can now choose from four Technical Administrators (TAs)

The Non-GMO Project is pleased to announce the addition of two Technical Administrators to pilot programs for assessing products to be compliant with its Standard. Participants in the Non-GMO Project Verified program now have more choices when selecting a Technical Administrator.

Where Food Comes From, Inc. (WFCF) and SCS Global Services (SCS) have entered additional pilot training to become a Technical Administrator (TA) with the Non-GMO Project. The IMI Global division of WFCF recently completed a pilot program focused on animal-derived products and is approved to accept verification clients for these products.

WFCF will focus on non-animal derived products in its pilot. SCS will handle all types of products in its pilot. If participants are interested in these pilot programs, they can choose either WFCF or SCS as the TA during the verification inquiry process.

The role of Technical Administrators is to assess products for compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard. This is comparable to the role organic certifiers play in the National Organic Program. In its pilot programs, the Project works closely with each Technical Administrator to provide training as the TA evaluates the products that qualify for participation in the pilot.

Megan Westgate, Executive Director for the Project, praised the progress of both WFCF and SCS.

“We’re proud to be working with the world’s leading certification bodies,” she said. “Our goal is to maintain market unity, ensuring that the term ‘Non-GMO’ remains synonymous with our rigorous standard. We are committed to offering partnership opportunities to all credible certifiers, and we are pleased to be expanding program capacity for companies wanting to verify their products.”

The Non-GMO Project’s original Technical Administrator was FoodChain ID. NSF International was added as a new Technical Administrator last year. With WFCF and SCS now evaluating products in pilot programs, and WFCF now approved to handle animal-derived products, the Non-GMO Project is working with a total of four TAs.

With more than 29,500 Non-GMO Project Verified products representing well over $11 Billion in annual sales, demand for the iconic butterfly label continues to surpass projections.

New and existing participating companies can explore their Technical Administrator options by completing a Verification Inquiry Form on the Non-GMO Project website.

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About the Non-GMO Project

The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. Click to learn more.

Contact: Caroline Kinsman
Email: caroline@nongmoproject.org
Phone: 877.358.9240, x112

Join the Non-GMO Project at Expo West 2015

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

Natural Products Expo West 2015We’re excited to see so many Non-GMO Project Verified participants in Anaheim this March for the Natural Products Expo West. Drop by our booth (#8527) to say hello to our team!

Below is a list of events at Expo we think will be valuable to participants or companies interested in pursuing Non-GMO Project Verification:

FRIDAY, March 6

  • Non-GMO Mixer
    • 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Room 207-C
    • Come raise a glass! Hosted by INFRA and the Non-GMO Project, come join industry leaders in celebrating the progress being made in non-GMO awareness and education!

SATURDAY, March 7

  • Non-GMO Project Q&A Roundtable
    • 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM, Room 207-C
    • Engage with multiple departments from the Non-GMO Project to get your most pressing questions answered.

 

Non-GMO Project staff will deliver posters to Verified and In-Process brand participants to showcase brand status in the Non-GMO Project Verified program.

 

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITIES!

Already Verified? Email Caroline Kinsman about sponsorship opportunities to promote your brand!

2015 Non-GMO Month sponsors currently include:

Natural Vitality, Kettle, Beanfields, Garden of Eatin’, Andalou, Beanitos, Crown Prince, Wholesome Sweeteners, Enjoy Life Foods, Dorval Trading Company, Neal’s Yard Remedies, and Dr. Bronner’s.

Welcome, Deven!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

Deven Vilar, Non-GMO Project

We’re happy to welcome Deven on board as the Non-GMO Project’s Administrative Assistant.

Get to know Deven:

From an early age, Deven has had a close relationship with food. Growing up on the Eastern side of Washington, her grandparents owned a small dairy farm where she would help her grandfather feed the cows, collect eggs, and help out wherever she could. She learned the importance of label-reading through her mother’s career in the natural food industry. Deven is a recent graduate from Western Washington University, with a BA in Environmental Policy.

Outside of work Deven enjoys being immersed in nature, seeing live music, cooking with friends and family, and providing for her little cat Phil.

Q&A:

What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project- what about this opportunity caught your attention?

Healthy living has been a passion of mine and having the opportunity to help other people live healthfully is a blessing. The opportunity to work with such a passionate and committed team is truly amazing. My personal goal has always been to do something that I love and to do something that matters. The work we do here at the Non-GMO Project absolutely falls into that category.

How do you think your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO project?

I feel incredibly fortunate to start my career at the Non-GMO Project. I’ve spent the past year working as an intern for the organization, which has given me the experience and skills to prepare me for this new role. I look forward to growing with the Project!

What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the Project?

I believe education is the key to change. By encouraging thoughtful and educated consumers, we can make great strides towards changing our food system. I’m excited to support the Project’s mission by providing transparency and increasing availability of good, healthy food for everyone.

Public Comment Period underway through January 22, 2015

Saturday, November 22nd, 2014

Public Comment Period

The Non-GMO Project would like your input! Round 2 of the 2014 public comment period is currently open and will run for 60 days ending on January 22, 2015.

Round 1 of the Public Comment Period ran for 60 days ending on September 5, 2014. Based on the comments received [PDF], we are seeking input on proposed changes to the Standard [PDF].

We are also seeking additional input from the public on certain topics in the form of a survey, which is split up into two sections below.

Please provide your name and affiliation on the survey, and select if you would like your comment to remain anonymous. Thank you for your input!

Survey 1 covers the following topics:
Proposed changes to the Standard
Restaurant-Made Products
GMO definition
Bee products
Animal lifecycle requirements
Non-dairy milk substitutes

Survey 2 covers the following topics:
Action thresholds
Variances
Similarities to the organic standard

 


Proposed New Format and Organization for Our Standard:  Let us know what you think!

We are always looking for ways that our Standard can be more effective, and that’s why we created a new, more user-friendly format and organization for the Standard. [PDF]  We believe this new format and organization will be helpful to everyone and would appreciate your feedback.  No change in the Standard’s meaning or requirements is intended.  Let us know what you think before January 22, 2015 by emailing standard@nongmoproject.org

Non-GMO Month 2014 a Resounding Success

Friday, November 14th, 2014

Continuing in the spirit of growing awareness and impactful change, 2014’s Non-GMO Month was celebrated by more people from all levels of the food supply chain. Increased participation by shoppers, retailers and brands was evident across all of North America.

Here at the Non-GMO Project, we couldn’t be more pleased with the amplified level of enthusiasm and passion, and we are already well into planning Non-GMO Month 2015. Read on to learn about the success of this year’s campaign.

Non-GMO Month 2014 by the numbers

  • 2,000+ Participating Retailers
  • 115,000 sponsor-branded Non-GMO Project pocket guides distributed
  • 39,000+ entries in the Daily Giveaway Contest
  • 10.9 million impressions on Facebook
  • 10,000 sponsor-branded Non-GMO Project tote bags handed out
  • 533 new brands contacting us to participate in the Non-GMO Project in just two months!
  • 2,004 new products verified in the 90 days leading up to Non-GMO Month
  • 288 new inquiries about the Product Verification Program

Thank you for choosing Non-GMO Project Verified!

Growing awareness about and rising distrust of GMOs has led to more of us seeking out non‐GMO options for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By committing to purchase non-GMO choices, the availability of Non-GMO Project Verified products grows with demand. With more than 22,000 Verified products we now have more non-GMO choices than ever before.

Non-GMO Project Verified Sales 2014

To everyone who helped bring awareness to the non-GMO conversation, we extend a heartfelt “Thank you!” The protection of our food supply is in your hands, and we are grateful for your voices and your choices!

The More We Know, the More We Grow

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

The More We Know, the More We GrowToday, in light of the GMO labeling ballot initiatives that took place across the U.S., we reflect on the overall growth of an incredible people-driven, knowledge-building movement.

If you had spoken to typical grocery shoppers in 2010, it is unlikely many of them would have heard of the term GMO (genetically modified organism). Fast forward four short years. There are now mandatory GMO labeling initiatives in more than half the states across the U.S.—all driven by citizen awareness, action and demand for answers.

It is no mistake this groundswell movement is called the Right to Know. It’s a movement based on knowledge—the lack of knowledge about what is in the food we feed our families, the desire for knowledge on every product we buy, and the demand for this knowledge to be shared collectively across the country. And today, we continue to witness that knowledge spreading from state to state.

In 2012, California ‘s Prop 37 became the first ballot initiative to bring this important debate to a citizen vote. Then, in 2013, Maui County passes Connecticut (with Maine following suit in 2014) passed a contingency law preparing to put mandatory labeling into action once surrounding states pass similar laws. Also in 2013, Washington’s I-522 offered voters another opportunity to pass mandatory labeling at the state level.

While the two state ballot measures (CA and WA) were narrowly defeated (2.8% and 2.18% respectively) and the state-initiated laws faced legal loopholes, the spotlight was placed on our right to know more about GMOs in our food–providing a taste that quickly turned into a hunger for knowledge.

In 2014, Vermont passed the first no-contingency mandatory labeling law in the U.S. Building on that momentum in 2014, Colorado and Oregon became the next two champion states to take on the Goliath biotech industry. On the beautiful island of Maui, where the year-round growing season make it attractive to biotech development, residents have become increasingly concerned about the health and environmental impacts of GMO farming. Late election night, Hawaiian citizens celebrated a stunning turnaround victory for banning GMO production in Maui. After being behind most of the day, the Maui County ballot initiative passed by more than 1,000 votes.

Meanwhile in Colorado, biotech opponents of Prop 105 poured $12 million into the state, outspending the Yes side 20 to 1. While the defeat is disappointing, we must remember the battle always results in awareness. With each measure, more and more citizens become engaged in rallying for our Right to Know.

Oregon’s Measure 92 is still too close to call two days post election. Ballots remain to be counted, and the margin is barely at 1% for the opposing side. As consistent with all GMO labeling efforts, opposition spending in Oregon was led by biotech companies. In fact, the $20 million total contributed to the No side broke Oregon State record for the most spend on one side of an issue. A margin so slim when the financial infusion is so high makes a powerful statement: Citizens want to know.

”At the end of the day, this is a social movement,” said George Kimbrell, chief author of Measure 92 and a senior attorney at the Center for Food Safety. “It’s about peoples’ right to know, and we know we’re going to eventually prevail, regardless of the outcome in Oregon.”

The incredibly slim losses on state ballot initiatives can feel disappointing, but the battle is far from over. And the win is in the details. The Right to Know movement and the advancement in GMO awareness are stronger than ever, despite being outspent by giant biotech corporations. In survey after survey, more than 90 percent of U.S. citizens say they want GMO labeling (Consumer Reports 2014, New York Times 2013, MSNBC 2011, Reuters and Washington Post 2010).

In the face of lacking mandatory labeling requirements, North American brands are listening to their customers and seeking voluntary labeling options, such as Non-GMO Project Verification, at an exceeding rate. Currently, there are more than 22,000 Non-GMO Project Verified products!

Our annual Non-GMO Month in October had more than 2,000 registered retailers educating their teams and having meaningful conversations with their customers about GMOs.

And every single one of us votes each day with our wallet and our heart by choosing a non-GMO lifestyle.

Here are four important things we can do every day to help protect non-GMO choices and the future of our food:

From all of us at the Non-GMO Project, we truly thank you for your passionate commitment to the movement. Don’t give up the fight — knowledge IS power!

Non-GMO Month 2014 Launches Oct. 1

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014
Are you ready? Join the 2,200 brands and more than 2,000 retailers that are empowering consumer voice by celebrating Non-GMO Month 2014! 0-celebrate-non-gmo-month

It’s October, and that means natural food stores across the U.S. and Canada are taking part in Non‐GMO Month, celebrating the public’s right to choose food and products that do not contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Organized by the Non-GMO Project, this month-long event provides a platform for citizens and organizations to stand up for the right to know what’s in their food and to choose non-GMO.

GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other animals and plants. These experimental combinations of genes cross the natural species barrier and have not been proven safe. Studies increasingly show a connection between GMOs and an array of health risks and environmental concerns. While GMOs are labeled or banned in most developed countries, in the U.S. and Canada they are unlabeled and are found in nearly 80% of processed food.

With U.S. consumer confidence shaken by ongoing food safety failures, distrust of GMOs is growing. As a result, consumers are increasingly seeking non‐GMO choices, and SPINS data has reported that Non-GMO Project Verified is currently one of the fastest growing label claims, reaching more than $8 billion in annual sales of Verified products.

Throughout October, shoppers will be able to find Non-GMO Project Verified choices featured at more than 2,000 Non-GMO Month registered retail stores. On the Non-GMO Month website, people can search the events calendar, find retailers, and enter a Non-GMO Month Daily Giveaway contest.

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Additional information is available at www.nongmomonth.org.

Join the Non-GMO Project at Expo East 2014

Friday, September 12th, 2014

ee14_logo_169x165We’re excited to see all of our participants in Baltimore this September for the Natural Products Expo East. Drop by our booth (#1148) to say hello to our team! Below is a list of events at Expo we will be attending or think will be valuable to participants or companies interested in pursuing Non-GMO Project Verification.

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 18

Lessons in Sustainability
10:30 – 11:45 am, Level 300 Room 315
Speakers: 
Katherine DiMatteo, Executive Director, Sustainable Food Trade Association
Linda Brown, Scientific Certification Services, ANSI
Wendy Behr, SVP Research, Development, & Sustainability, Whitewave Foods
Shauna Sadowski, Director of Sustainability, Annie’s, Inc.

Organic=Non-GMO and a Whole Lot More
2:00 – 3:15 pm, Room 314
Speakers:
Gwendolyn Wyard, Regulatory Director, Organic Standards and Food Safety, Organic Trade Association
Bethany Davis, Director of Regulatory Affairs, FoodState
Johanna Mirenda, Policy Director, Pennsylvania Certified Organic
Courtney Pineau, Assistant Director, The Non-GMO Project

GMOs 2.0: What You Need to Know About Synthetic Biology
2:00 – 3:00 pm, Level 300 Room 322
Speakers:
Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist, Consumer Union
Melody Meyer, Vice President for Policy and Industry Relations, UNFI
Dana Perls, Food and Technology Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
John Roulac, Founder and CEO, Nutiva
Jim Thomas, Program Director, ETC Group 

2,4-D: What it Means for GMO Labeling
3:30 – 4:45 pm, Level 300 Room 309
Speakers:
Scott Faber, VP Government Affairs, Environmental Working Group
Doug Gurian-Sherman, PhD.Senior Scientist, Director of Sustainable Agriculture, Center for Food Safety
Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist, Consumer Union
Mary Ellen Kustin, Legislative/Policy Analyst, Environmental Working Group
Jim Leahy, Executive Director, Citizens for GMO Labeling, Inc.
Paige Richardson, Campaign Director, Yes on 92
Rick Ridder, Campaign Consultant, Right to Know Colorado, RBI Strategies and Research

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 19

Preparing for Non-GMO Verification
1:30 – 2:30 pm, Level 300 Room 321
Speakers:
David Carter, V.P. of Operations and General Manager, FoodChain ID, Inc.
Maryellen Molyneaux, President, Natural Marketing Institute (NMI)
Ken Ross, CEO, Global ID Group, Inc.
Heather Secrist PhD, CEO, Genetic ID NA, Inc.

Welcome, Desirae!

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

desirae-hill-marketing-associate-non-gmo-project-1

We are excited to have Desirae Hill join the Non-GMO Project as Marketing Associate!

Desirae draws insight from her experience working for large retail organizations, small manufacturing companies, nonprofits, and consulting. While she holds a B.A. in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing, and a technical degree in Visual Communications, Desirae’s career is an ongoing study of culture, human behavior, and communication.

Originally from Montana, Desirae fell in love with Bellingham’s culture of sustainability and green forests. As a part of the Non-GMO Project Communications team, her work encompasses design, content and strategy to expand the Non-GMO Project’s growing social media presence and to support consumer awareness.

Desirae is also a yoga teacher, closet-painter and vegetarian enthusiast. She spends her free time reading poetry and non-fiction, and adventuring with her adorable son and partner.

Get to know Desirae:

What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project? What about this opportunity caught your attention?

I have an unsatiated interest in the potential for design and technology to impact social change. The Non-GMO Project has done an outstanding job advocating for transparency and empowerment and is in a unique position to dialogue about the issues surrounding our food system.

How do you think your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO project?

In my previous experience as a Brand Manager for a local food manufacturing startup I gained an understanding of the inner workings of the industry. This insight has provided various lenses through which to see, helping me to engage in smart dialogue with our various audiences.

What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the Project?

It’s important to me that we continue to empower people to make healthy food choices. Social media is an amazing tool to gather and share information and I’m looking forward to engaging with everyday people who power the movement.

Welcome, Joyce!

Friday, August 15th, 2014

jdebrevannes_photoJoyce de Brevannes comes to the Non-GMO Project with decades of experience in marketing  and communications for both the non-profit and for profit sectors. She began her career in  the entertainment industry, working for  DreamWorks, Paramount and Warner Bros. Believing that she should be of service, she  began looking for jobs with purpose and served as Creative Director and Marketing/Communications Manager for two  non-profits; in addition, she started two businesses of her own. Joyce has always been a passionate advocate for food sustainability, accessibility and transparency issues. But it was her experience in Marketing and Community Outreach for Whole Foods Market that really brought her concerns regarding GMO issues to the forefront. In fact, she drove over 1,200 miles to join our team in Bellingham!

Joyce is incredibly excited to begin her work with the Non-GMO Project. Her new role will encompass building upon existing programs, retailer relations, consumer outreach and expanding awareness of the Project’s mission. In her spare time, you will find Joyce hiking, biking, exploring farmer’s markets and finding any excuse to hang out with dogs.

What interests you about working with the Non-GMO Project, and what about this opportunity caught your attention? I’ve been blogging about food issues since 2004 and deeply believe that food should be just that … food. The Non-GMO Project is the preeminent verification program and one that has helped customers navigate store aisles and make informed choices for themselves and their families. I’ve not only seen it firsthand in stores, but in the many conversations I have had in communities. It’s an exciting time in the food sector as more people are becoming engaged and looking at where their food comes from and the impact it has on their health. The Non-GMO Project is an industry leader in this conversation, and it has become a trusted seal by making great strides in streamlining comprehension of this very important issue.

How do you think your prior experience will help you in working with the Non-GMO Project? My time at Whole Foods Market allowed me to get to know farmers, artisan food crafters and larger producers—folks working hard every day to make quality products with integrity. I love being that liaison between our producers and helping people understand their food choices. I am very proud to be a part of an organization creating such good change and helping to maintain transparency in our food supply.

 
What is important to you about the work you will be doing with the Project?
I look forward to providing education, support and enhancing communication between retailers and their customers. I am grateful to be able to both support conscious companies and empower consumers.