The verification process is a rigorous one, but we’re here to help.
1. Why should I get my product Non-GMO Project Verified?
When you land the Butterfly, you boost your appeal to conscious consumers, support a natural and genetically diverse supply chain, and increase your growth opportunities across retail and distribution channels. The Butterfly is the fastest-growing label in the natural products industry, representing about $40 billion in annual sales and more than 66,000+ unique-formula products from thousands of brands.
When your product has met compliance with our Standard, research shows brands with the Butterfly experience a sales increase over those without the label. With the active promotion of your Non-GMO Project verification, you can see up to a 20% sales lift. That’s because the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is the most trusted non-GMO label and the most widely recognized food certification after USDA Organic.
2. How do I get the Butterfly label on my products?
We are here with you every step of the way! You can find out more about the Steps to Verification here. The Non-GMO Project works with four independent technical administrators (TAs) to provide unbiased evaluations of your products. You can choose the TA that best meets your needs, or fill out our Get Started form to connect directly with our staff. We look forward to growing your business while meeting consumer demand for non-GMO products.
3. How much does Non-GMO Project verification cost?
The cost varies depending on how many products you wish to submit for verification and whether those products contain any high-risk ingredients, such as corn or soy, which require greater scrutiny. Products are evaluated by one of four independent technical administrators (TAs): FoodChain ID Technical Services, NSF, Where Food Comes From, and SCS Global Services. Each TA sets their own price for verification services. We encourage you to explore each TA’s outline of fees on our Technical Administrators page. The Non-GMO product verification fee is $105 effective August 1, 2022. For eligible retail seed companies, the product verification fee is $35. Please note that some TAs offer discounts on bundling services.
4. How long will it take to get my products Non-GMO Project Verified?
On average, the process takes 3 to 6 months depending on the attributes of your product and how quickly you can submit the required documentation for product evaluation. This process could move more quickly based on ingredients. Some TAs offer expedited services. Reach out to TAs directly for a more accurate timeline.
5. My brand already uses non-GMO ingredients and our product label indicates that. Why should we get Non-GMO Project Verified?
Certifications matter! Want to increase your sales? Just look at the numbers. Consumers use labels to find products that align with their values, meet their health goals and help them avoid greenwashing. Reputable certifications are a shortcut to trust.
Research shows that products with Non-GMO Project verification see increased sales over products with self-made claims or no labeling at all. Sales of Non-GMO Project Verified products in the past two years have increased about 18% to nearly $40 billion in 2021 — significantly stronger growth than products that don’t carry the Butterfly. 1
6. My products are already USDA Certified Organic. Why should I have my products Non-GMO Project Verified? Doesn’t “organic always mean non-GMO”?
Research says that certified organic products show stronger growth when paired with the Butterfly. In fact, data shows products that are both Non-GMO Project Verified and USDA Organic Certified experience about 20% sales growth. 2
Why Organic Certified + Non-GMO Project Verified = the clean label gold standard:
1. It’s a reputational risk for companies to make non-GMO self-made claims.
2. Testing isn’t required under the National Organic Program.
3. Our own testing indicates that, unfortunately, GMO contamination is happening in certified organic products.
4. Organic certification doesn’t address new GMOs.
5. There is a lack of clarity on actually defining GMOs in the organic certification.
6. The National Organic Program has no action threshold or enforcement for GMO contamination.
7. The Non-GMO Project requires Verified products are in compliance with our rigorous Standard, including testing for major high-risk ingredients, continuous random surveillance of products and annual renewals.
We realize “organic is always non-GMO” is an easy shorthand for customers. While the statement can be true, it can also be misleading as indicated by our findings on GMO contamination. That being said, the Non-GMO Project fully embraces the organic movement and was founded in part to strengthen organic certification. Given the choice, customers choose products with both USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified labels.
7. Are products bearing the Non-GMO Project Verified seal “GMO Free”?
No. Unfortunately, “GMO Free” and similar claims are not legally or scientifically defensible. The risk of contamination to seeds, crops, ingredients and products is too high to reliably claim that a product is “GMO Free.” “Non-GMO Project Verified” offers a true statement acknowledging contamination risk and the realities of the current food system, and assuring the shopper that the product in question is in compliance with the Project’s rigorous Standard. While the Non-GMO Project Verified seal is not a “GMO free” claim, it is trustworthy, defensible and transparent. That’s why the Butterfly is North America’s only third-party verification for products made according to best practices for GMO avoidance.
8. What if my product contains animal-derived ingredients such as meat, eggs, dairy or honey?
If the feed for the animal-derived products contains ingredients from the High-Risk List, such as corn or soy, testing is required. The feed does not need to be Non-GMO Project Verified as long as it meets our testing requirements (though Verified feed certainly speeds up the certification process). If you are a producer of animal products, please check out our industry-specific resources here.
Honey: If your product contains honey, we require documentation showing that the 4-mile radius surrounding the beehives is sufficiently free of genetically modified commercial agriculture. For example, the hives can be surrounded by corn, which is high risk, provided the corn is not genetically modified. Any supplemental feed must be compliant with our Standard.
9. Where can I find a list of Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients?
You can search for Non-GMO Project Verified products and ingredients on our product search page. Browse by product category, brand name or search by product name. To find Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients such as honey or corn starch, use the product name search function and identify the desired ingredient by its name, e.g., “honey” or “corn starch.” Or use the product category search function and choose “wholesale ingredients.”
10. Does becoming Non-GMO Project Verified require testing of every finished product?
Testing finished products is not a reliably accurate measure of GMO presence. Therefore, the Non-GMO Project Standard requires testing of individual ingredients or precursors, not finished products. Ongoing testing is required for all major high GMO risk crop ingredients (a list of high-risk ingredients can be found in Appendix B of the Non-GMO Project Standard). Our program is designed to employ testing at the most efficient and meaningful point in the production chain — for example, during initial processing — as a best practice. Typically, this is where ingredients are least processed (with intact DNA) and consolidated in the largest amounts. From there, traceability and segregation ensure that the tested ingredient maintains its purity. To find out if testing will be required as part of your unique product evaluation, reach out to your technical administrator directly.
11. Once my product is Verified, how can I use the Non-GMO Project Butterfly seal?
After signing a license agreement with the Non-GMO Project, we will provide you with our trademark artwork to be used for design purposes only. Once your product evaluation has been successfully completed, the Non-GMO Project Verified mark can be used on your products.
12. Do you provide any support once my product is Verified?
Yes! Brands that have achieved Verified status on their products benefit from the overall promotional efforts of the Project. The Non-GMO Project Marketing and Communications team is available to review your marketing materials, assist in the development of your non-GMO messaging and further leverage your verification. Additional marketing, programming and sponsorship opportunities are available to showcase your non-GMO commitment. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
13. Where is my Non-GMO Project product verification fee going?
The Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization. We are unique in that we don’t rely on grants or benefactors. The fees for the Product Verification Program are the Project’s primary source of revenue, the means by which the organization maintains its independence. The Non-GMO Project works with thousands of retailers and millions of consumers to provide education about GMOs and to drive awareness of the importance of Non-GMO Project Verified products.
The Project is the leader in advocating for GMO transparency, conducting ongoing research and technical oversight on the changing GMO landscape.
13. What do I need to know about the federal GMO food labeling law?
The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) has a mandatory compliance date of January 1, 2022. At that time, many products containing “bioengineered substances” will require a disclosure when sold in the United States.
The stringent requirements of the Non-GMO Project Standard exceed the NBFDS requirements for avoiding a “bioengineered” disclosure. In addition, the Non-GMO Project has worked closely with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in taking several measures that aim to align the Non-GMO Project Standard with the federal rule, with the intention that Non-GMO Project Verified products not be subject to disclosure.
In its commentary on the final rule, the AMS states that the “USDA has tried to minimize the impact the NBFDS will have on…voluntary absence claims.”
Read the NBFDS FAQs
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