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At this time 10 years ago, I was volunteering full-time to create a new non-profit organization called the Non-GMO Project. Our small group working on the effort had given up hope that government would ever give consumers the information they need to know about GMOs. Meanwhile, we saw that shoppers were increasingly concerned about GMOs and looking for non-GMO options. We reasoned that since there was a market for non-GMO, producers would create a supply for it—they just needed a system for doing so. It wouldn’t be easy or quick, but we felt confident that a market-based strategy was our best hope for preserving and building a non-GMO food supply and giving consumers the informed choice they deserve.

Fast forward a decade—after the events of this past year, it seems clearer than ever that we can’t count on the government to protect consumer interests when it comes to GMOs. In the wake of federal legislation that has effectively ended any hope of meaningful, mandatory GMO labeling in the United States, the Non-GMO Project Butterfly has become more important than ever.

The Non-GMO Project's rigorous Standard is the only non-GMO claim backed by third-party verification and ongoing testing of major, high-risk ingredients. We have also led the industry by precluding products of synthetic biology and other new forms of genetic engineering like gene editing. As the technology changes faster than ever, the Non-GMO Project’s nimbleness, integrity and technical focus continue to imbue the Butterfly with unparalleled trustworthiness.

As a non-profit organization, we count on public support to help us do our work. We are a small but mighty team—less than 30 staff members manage our Standard development, oversee the Technical Administrators that verify products to our Standard and coordinate all of our outreach and education programs. I’m proud to share the following notable accomplishments of our impact:

As we launch into 2017, I hope you will consider supporting the work of the Non-GMO Project with a donation. Your generosity will help us continue to lead the way in protecting and educating the public so that we have a non-GMO food supply for future generations.

From all of us at the Non-GMO Project, we thank you deeply for your partnership in building a non-GMO future and we look forward to another year of collaboration.

Best wishes for a wonderful new year!megan

Megan Westgate, Executive Director

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When we launched the first Non-GMO Month in October 2010, our intention was to start an annual month-long celebration to educate the public and spotlight Non-GMO Project Verified choices on shelves. Now in its seventh year, Non-GMO Month has more than quadrupled in size. Nearly 2,400 retailers have registered in 2016 to support the Non-GMO Project’s mission of preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO choices.

Thousands of brands and retailers across North America are helping the Butterfly land on dinner tables every day. Each autumn, we come together for 31 days to spotlight our expanding non-GMO future. We have a lot to celebrate this October: the Non-GMO Project Verified product count has soared past 40,000, the number of brands offering Verified products has climbed beyond 2,700, and the ever-increasing number of retailers offering those foods means more non-GMO choices for more people. The annual sales of Non-GMO Project Verified products are approaching $20 billion, and this success has helped drive the first-ever decrease in genetically modified crop acreage since GMO agriculture was introduced two decades ago. Thanks to your help, the Butterfly is flying high across North America!

To kick off this year’s Non-GMO Month, we hosted a special real-time event for our 1.2 million social media followers. Watch our Facebook Live video broadcast from the Community Food Co-op here in Bellingham, one of our local and long-time supporting retailers. In the video, I showcase a Non-GMO Month endcap and share tools and tips on how to make Non-GMO Month a success for your community. To help inspire your network of friends, family and fellow shoppers, please share our blog on your social media outlets: Ten ways you can get involved with Non-GMO Month 2016. Help us celebrate our biggest Non-GMO Month event yet!

Megan Westgate
Non-GMO Project Executive Director

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The Non-GMO Project seal has been compliant with FSIS standards since June 2013.

The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has announced new compliance guidance on “how companies can make label or labeling claims concerning the fact that bioengineered or genetically modified (GM) ingredients or animal feed were not used in the production of meat, poultry, or egg products.”

For brands seeking the Butterfly seal or those who already have Verified products, this new guidance does not impact Non-GMO Project Verification. The Non-GMO Project seal was first approved by FSIS in 2013, and that approval remains in effect.

The Non-GMO Project Standard's requirements remain the most rigorous in the world, and we will continue working to preserve and build a non-GMO food supply, educate consumers and provide Verified Non-GMO choices.

To date, consumer demand has driven more than 1,000 meat, egg and poultry products to meet the highest standard in the industry and achieve Non-GMO Project Verification. Shoppers’ trust in the Butterfly seal has pushed annual sales of Non-GMO Project Verified products to over $19 billion.

The new compliance guide takes effect immediately, but the USDA will hear comments via the Federal Register for sixty days. We will follow up soon with suggestions for comments.

 

logo-official 2014Wai Koko Beverage Company is pleased to announce their 100% Pure Coconut Water and Kona Mocha Infused Coconut Water have received verification from the Non-GMO Project, North America’s only third‐party verification for non-GMO food and products. Both beverages are available in 17.5 FL oz. and 8.5 FL oz. BPA free cans.

“We are very excited to receive our Non-GMO Project verification. Obtaining this was a natural step for us as we are committed to using only high quality real food ingredients in our products, and while we’ve never used GMO ingredients we can now proudly display the Non-GMO Project logo. This just another way for us to share the Aloha!” Miranda Clements, Brand Manager.

Wai Koko Beverage Company will be showcasing their Non-GMO Project Verified 100% Pure coconut water and Kona Mocha infused coconut water at the upcoming Natural Products Expo West trade show in Anaheim, CA March 11-13th at booth #5735.

About Wai Koko Beverage Company

Launched in November 2012, Wai Koko Beverage Company has quickly gained market penetration as the fastest growing coconut water in their home state of Hawaii. The Wai Koko Coconut Water Brand is strongly rooted in Hawaiian culture and committed to spreading the Aloha as your passport to Hawaii. Wai Koko coconut water is currently available in Hawaii, select West Regional cities and on Amazon.com.

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For more information about Wai Koko Beverage Company visit: www.drinkwaikoko.com

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