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Non-GMO Project Standard Revision

About the Non-GMO Project Standard

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. This important work is largely accomplished through our Product Verification Program, the foundation of North America’s most trusted and meaningful label for GMO avoidance.

Consumers trust our label because it is a third-party verification program backed by the most rigorous Standard for GMO avoidance. If you’d like to help make the Standard even stronger, you can get involved by giving us your feedback during the public comment period—it is open now!

What is the Non-GMO Project Standard?

The Non-GMO Project Standard sets the ground rules for the Product Verification Program and lays out requirements for achieving verification. It controls what can be verified under the program, which inputs must be tested and when, the action thresholds for demonstrating compliance of tested material, and requirements for protecting the identity and integrity of products in the program. To this end, the Standard was crafted with the insight and expertise of stakeholders who present a diverse range of perspectives. The Non-GMO Project continues to include a wide range of viewpoints by reviewing public comments at set intervals.

Help Make the Non-GMO Project Standard Version 15 Our Most Meaningful and Rigorous Standard Yet

Biennial revisions help keep the Non-GMO Project Standard rigorous, current, and collaborative. Prior to each revision, an initial public comment period is held for 60 days beginning in April of even years. Comments are submitted online during the public comment period. However, we welcome feedback via email at any time.

The Standards Committee will conduct an in-depth review of comments after the close of the first comment period and use the submissions to inform their decision making over the span of several meetings. The committee will then propose changes to the Standard, which will be published as a redline for a second round of public comments specific to those changes. After the second round, the Standards Committee will review comments again and create a new proposed version of the Standard.

From there, the Standard goes to the Non-GMO Project Board of Directors for final ratification. While the Board has the final decision-making authority, achieving a full consensus between the Board and the Standards Committee is always a priority.

We Want to Know What You Think

At the Non-GMO Project, we believe that consumers hold the power to collectively change the way our food is grown and made. We encourage you to vote with your dollars every day; now we encourage you to make your voice heard during the public comment period.

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It has come to the Non-GMO Project’s attention that a producer of soy and soybean oil (Calyxt) is entering into contracts to sell a new high-oleic acid soybean variety developed with the gene editing technique TALEN. Though this TALEN soy variety does not contain transgenes in the finished product, it was developed using biotechnology and is therefore a GMO. Products made with this soy are not eligible for Verification under the Non-GMO Project Standard. The Project will be ensuring compliance through legally-binding affidavits.

The Project's definition of GMO aligns with the one used by Codex Alimentarius, which is the most authoritative international definition for biotechnology. This definition encompasses new techniques such as gene-editing and aligns with a recent ruling by the highest court in the European Union that the products of such techniques are GMOs and are subject to the EU GMO Directive.

As products of biotechnology continue to enter the market at an accelerated rate and with virtually no regulation, the Non-GMO Project will continue to lead the way in addressing the supply chain risks from new GMOs and preserving non-GMO choices for the public.


Non-GMO Project addresses supply chain risks caused by new techniques like CRISPR and RNAi

Contact: Kristin Wheeler
Phone: 360.255.7704 x131

BELLINGHAM, WAOctober 31—The potato has been added to the High-Risk list of the Non-GMO Project Standard because a GMO potato variety is now “widely commercially available” in the United States. To determine when a crop needs to be moved from the Monitored-Risk list to the High-Risk list, the Project uses an established set of criteria related to the likelihood of GMO contamination in the conventional and non-GMO supply chain. As a result of today’s move, products made with potato will now be subject to extra scrutiny before they can become Non-GMO Project Verified.

On the market since 2015, the GMO potato developed by J.R. Simplot has been engineered through a method of gene silencing called RNA interference (RNAi). This genetic engineering technique results in a potato that hides the symptoms of blackspot bruising. Currently, GMO potatoes are being marketed under the Simplot Innate brand, found under the trademark White Russet.

“Browning is nature’s most visible way of letting you know a product is rotting. GMOs that use RNAi to mask the signs of bruising could lead consumers to unknowingly ingest an unhealthy, toxic product,” says Megan Westgate, executive director of the Non-GMO Project.

The Non-GMO Project also announced today that a new variety of soy, produced with a type of gene editing called TALEN, has been added to its High-Risk list. Developments in biotechnology are happening so fast that the Non-GMO Project now has two full-time research staff dedicated to monitoring.

“The supply chain risks we’re now seeing from new GMOs are unprecedented in the decade we’ve been verifying products,” according to Westgate. “Not only are new GE techniques being used, but in some cases biotechnology companies are using unscientific arguments to deceive the public into thinking their products are non-GMO.”

The Non-GMO Project holds a firm position that anything produced with genetic engineering, like RNAi, TALEN or CRISPR, is a GMO. Although unpopular with biotechnology companies, this position aligns with a July 2018 ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union, which determined that these new GMOs are subject to regulation under the EU’s GMO Directive.

“Our research team continually monitors approximately 250 companies involved in genetic engineering—not only how the techniques are evolving, but also what specific products are being created and how they are impacting the supply chain,” said Westgate.

The Non-GMO Project is committed to ensuring that everyone has the information needed to make an informed choice in order to avoid all types of GMOs. As the gold standard for shoppers looking to avoid GMOs, the Non-GMO Project will continue to lead the way in addressing the risks posed by new GMOs.


For more information view the Frequently Asked Questions.


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. 


The Non-GMO Project’s biennial public comment periods are foundational to our third-party integrity and fulfillment of our nonprofit mission.

From August 20th through October 18th, 2018, public comment is being accepted on changes made in response to comments submitted during round one of the 2018 comment period, which was held from April 16th through June 14th, 2018.

The intention of the second round of comment is to alert stakeholders to potential changes to the Standard, allowing an opportunity for further input that informs the Standards Committee’s and Board’s final decision. A new version of the Standard is generally ratified following the second comment period. However, for the 2018 revision, we have determined that, as allowed for by the Project’s Terms of Reference , we will hold a third round of comment prior to ratification.

The primary reason for a third comment period is the significance of potential changes to section 8.1, Livestock and Poultry. At this time, the Standards Committee has determined that additional information and input must be collected prior to being ready to propose final changes. Comments submitted during round 2 (between now and October 18th, 2018) will therefore be incorporated into a new redline version of the Standard, which will be presented for additional public comment in January of 2019.

During round 2, public comment is accepted on all proposed changes and questions. In addition, the Standards Committee is seeking specific input in several areas. Please see below for a list of linked forms with which to submit your comment. You are encouraged to comment in any and all areas.

Livestock and Poultry
Includes questions on annual averaging for feed Action Threshold, Dry Matter vs. As-Fed, Exempt Minors in feed rations and High-Moisture crops.

Sampling and Testing
Includes questions on annual averaging for feed Action Threshold, 6-month averaging on Action Threshold for some inputs and Limit of Detection for qualitative PCR.

Includes questions on the Made With claim, and blending as a corrective action.

General Comments
To submit comments on any other proposed changes, please use the General Comments form.

Biennial revisions help keep the Non-GMO Project Standard rigorous, current, and collaborative. Learn more about the Standard revision process! View the full version of this infographic.


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