Overview of the Standard

The Goals of the Non-GMO Project Standard

  • The Standard’s goal is to assist farmers, processors and manufacturers in avoiding the contamination of GMO’s by progressively reducing the risk of GMO contamination.
  • Currently, several major crops are at significant risk of GMO contamination. At-risk production inputs and ingredients derived from these at-risk crops are identified in the Standard.
  • The Standard requires practices and processes for controlling GMO contamination by these at-risk inputs and ingredients. Methods such as segregation, traceability, risk assessment, sampling techniques, and quality control management are emphasized in the Standard.
  • Analytical testing of seed, crops, ingredients, and products is done at critical points in the production chain to verify that the processes and practices employed by participants are adequate to meet Action Thresholds set by the Standard. The Standard is written so that compliance results in consistent performance to the Action Threshold. In incidents where the Action Threshold is exceeded unknowingly or unintentionally, timely corrective actions are required to identify the cause of the contamination and eliminate it.
  • The intention of the Project is to drive testing to the most efficient and critical points in the production chain, namely the consolidation of the lot of mono-component ingredient (e.g., crop) and the seed from which it was produced. In theory, if these are verified via testing as non-GMO according to the Standard, identity preservation systems and field contamination-avoidance practices should then be sufficient. However, goods may (and likely will) be tested anywhere in the production chain by any participant or by the Project’s own surveillance testing program. The Project is initiating significant efforts to build the supply of verified non-GMO seed (especially organic seed).
  • The Standard is designed to be achievable and verifiable by the Project’s Product Verification Program (PVP). Variances to the longer-term Action Thresholds set by the Standard are in place for the initial implementation of the Standard and PVP. This will allow the Project and its participants to move toward the reduction of GMOs in our food supply.
  • Another important goal of the Project is to downgrade the risk level of crops from high-risk to low-risk. This may be done on a product-specific and/or region-specific basis. This can be achieved by producers and sellers of non-GMO products leveraging their collective power, both as individual entities and through coordinated group efforts facilitated by the Project.
  • The Standard requires continuous improvements until the long-term Action Thresholds and these overarching goals of the Project are achieved on a consistent basis.