The Non-GMO Project

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The Non-GMO Project
TypeNon-profit organization
IndustryProduct certification
Founded2007
HeadquartersBellingham, Washington, United States
Key people
Megan Westgate, Executive Director
Number of employees
20 (2016)

The Non-GMO Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focusing on genetically modified organisms. The organization began as an initiative of independent natural foods retailers in the U.S. and Canada,[1] with the stated aim to label products produced in compliance with their Non-GMO Project Standard,[2] which aims to prevent genetically modified foodstuffs from being present in retail food products. The organization is headquartered in Bellingham, Washington. The Non-GMO label began use in 2012 with Numi Organic Tea products.[3][4]

History[edit]

In 2007, two natural food retailers formed the project, with a goal of creating a standardized definition for non-genetically modified organisms.[5][6] The project worked with FoodChain Global Advisors which provided the scientific and technical expertise. In spring 2007, the project's board of directors[7] was expanded to include representatives from additional groups, and formed advisory boards for technical and policy issues.[8]

Mission[edit]

The Non-GMO Project's stated mission is "to preserve and build sources of non-GMO products, educate consumers, and provide verified non-GMO choices". It provides third-party verification and labeling for non-genetically modified food and products. The project also works with food manufacturers, distributors, growers, and seed suppliers to develop standards for detection of genetically modified organisms and for the reduction of contamination risk of the non-genetically modified food supply with genetically modified organisms. FoodChain Global Advisors, a part of Global ID Group.[9][10]

The Non-GMO Project claims to "educate consumers and the food industry to help build awareness about GMOs and their impact on our health".[11] It asserts that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms.[11][12]

Standard and label[edit]

The Non-GMO Project maintains a consensus-based standard,[13] which outlines their system for ensuring best practices for avoiding genetically modified organisms. Methods such as segregation, traceability, risk assessment, sampling techniques, and quality control management are emphasized in the Standard.

The project's Product Verification Program assesses ingredients, products, and manufacturing facilities to establish compliance with the standard. All ingredients with major risk must be tested for compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard prior to their use in a Non-GMO Project Verified Product.[14] The process is managed through a web-based application and evaluation program developed for the project.[15] The project's label indicates compliance with the standards.[16][17]

Sales[edit]

According to the Non-GMO Project, as of September 2013, Non-GMO Project Verified products exceeded $3.5 billion. This would be approximately 0.4% of the total food sales in the United States ($1.3 trillion in 2012).[18] The Non-GMO Project reports 797 verification program enrollment inquiries in the second quarter of 2013 compared to 194 inquiries during the same period in 2012, representing more than a 300% increase.[19]

Controversy[edit]

The Non-GMO Project has been known to put its labels on products containing inputs it considers "low-risk", including foods with inputs that could not be derived from GMOs. The Project maintains this is because many products that appear to be inherently non-GMO (such as orange juice) often contain GMO-derived additives (such as citric acid). Some critics say the Project may be using a business model that is based on fear and lack of information.[20]

There is a scientific consensus[21][22][23][24] that currently available food derived from GM crops poses no greater risk to human health than conventional food,[25][26][27][28][29] but that each GM food needs to be tested on a case-by-case basis before introduction.[30][31][32] Nonetheless, members of the public are much less likely than scientists to perceive GM foods as safe.[33][34][35][36] The legal and regulatory status of GM foods varies by country, with some nations banning or restricting them, and others permitting them with widely differing degrees of regulation.[37][38][39][40]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Board of Directors The Non-GMO Project
  2. ^ "The Standard – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  3. ^ "Numi Organic Tea Brews "Pure Tea" Precedent with Non-GMO Verification - the Non-GMO Project". 29 August 2012.
  4. ^ Van Eenennaam, A.L., and A.E. Young. 2014. Prevalence and impacts of genetically engineered feedstuffs on livestock populations. J Anim. Sci. 92:4255-4278.
  5. ^ "Natural" food retailers to set non-biotech standard, Food Chemical News
  6. ^ "History – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. 29 January 2016. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2009-10-16.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ The Non-GMO Project History
  9. ^ The Organic & Non-GMO Report. April 2007 The Organic and Non-GMO Report:The Non-GMO Project rises to forefront of natural food industry
  10. ^ William Neuman for the Taipei Times. 30 Aug 2009 The Non-GMO Project aims to back up food makers' claims that their products are largely free of biotech ingredients
  11. ^ a b "Non-GMO Project: About". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  12. ^ "Q+A with Megan Westgate". Daily Camera. 26 July 2011.
  13. ^ "The Standard – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. 19 May 2017. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
  14. ^ Westgate, Megan. "Top 3 Things to Know About the Non-GMO Project". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  15. ^ "Global ID was engaged by the Non-GMO Project to design and administer a non-GMO verification program." Golden Triangle Newspapers [1] Archived June 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ http://www.nongmoproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/Revised-Seal-copy.jpg[bare URL image file]
  17. ^ Non-GMO Project: Understanding Our Seal.[2],
  18. ^ "Food Expenditures".
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-11.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Randy Krotz (July 10, 2017). "The Non-GMO Project: Creating fake news at the grocery store". AgWeek.
  21. ^ Nicolia, Alessandro; Manzo, Alberto; Veronesi, Fabio; Rosellini, Daniele (2013). "An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research" (PDF). Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 34 (1): 77–88. doi:10.3109/07388551.2013.823595. PMID 24041244. S2CID 9836802. We have reviewed the scientific literature on GE crop safety for the last 10 years that catches the scientific consensus matured since GE plants became widely cultivated worldwide, and we can conclude that the scientific research conducted so far has not detected any significant hazard directly connected with the use of GM crops.

    The literature about Biodiversity and the GE food/feed consumption has sometimes resulted in animated debate regarding the suitability of the experimental designs, the choice of the statistical methods or the public accessibility of data. Such debate, even if positive and part of the natural process of review by the scientific community, has frequently been distorted by the media and often used politically and inappropriately in anti-GE crops campaigns.
  22. ^ "State of Food and Agriculture 2003–2004. Agricultural Biotechnology: Meeting the Needs of the Poor. Health and environmental impacts of transgenic crops". Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Currently available transgenic crops and foods derived from them have been judged safe to eat and the methods used to test their safety have been deemed appropriate. These conclusions represent the consensus of the scientific evidence surveyed by the ICSU (2003) and they are consistent with the views of the World Health Organization (WHO, 2002). These foods have been assessed for increased risks to human health by several national regulatory authorities (inter alia, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, the United Kingdom and the United States) using their national food safety procedures (ICSU). To date no verifiable untoward toxic or nutritionally deleterious effects resulting from the consumption of foods derived from genetically modified crops have been discovered anywhere in the world (GM Science Review Panel). Many millions of people have consumed foods derived from GM plants - mainly maize, soybean and oilseed rape - without any observed adverse effects (ICSU).
  23. ^ Ronald, Pamela (May 1, 2011). "Plant Genetics, Sustainable Agriculture and Global Food Security". Genetics. 188 (1): 11–20. doi:10.1534/genetics.111.128553. PMC 3120150. PMID 21546547. There is broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat. After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops (Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources, Committee on Environmental Impacts Associated with Commercialization of Transgenic Plants, National Research Council and Division on Earth and Life Studies 2002). Both the U.S. National Research Council and the Joint Research Centre (the European Union's scientific and technical research laboratory and an integral part of the European Commission) have concluded that there is a comprehensive body of knowledge that adequately addresses the food safety issue of genetically engineered crops (Committee on Identifying and Assessing Unintended Effects of Genetically Engineered Foods on Human Health and National Research Council 2004; European Commission Joint Research Centre 2008). These and other recent reports conclude that the processes of genetic engineering and conventional breeding are no different in terms of unintended consequences to human health and the environment (European Commission Directorate-General for Research and Innovation 2010).
  24. ^ But see also:

    Domingo, José L.; Bordonaba, Jordi Giné (2011). "A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants" (PDF). Environment International. 37 (4): 734–742. doi:10.1016/j.envint.2011.01.003. PMID 21296423. In spite of this, the number of studies specifically focused on safety assessment of GM plants is still limited. However, it is important to remark that for the first time, a certain equilibrium in the number of research groups suggesting, on the basis of their studies, that a number of varieties of GM products (mainly maize and soybeans) are as safe and nutritious as the respective conventional non-GM plant, and those raising still serious concerns, was observed. Moreover, it is worth mentioning that most of the studies demonstrating that GM foods are as nutritional and safe as those obtained by conventional breeding, have been performed by biotechnology companies or associates, which are also responsible of commercializing these GM plants. Anyhow, this represents a notable advance in comparison with the lack of studies published in recent years in scientific journals by those companies.

    Krimsky, Sheldon (2015). "An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment" (PDF). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40 (6): 883–914. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381. S2CID 40855100. I began this article with the testimonials from respected scientists that there is literally no scientific controversy over the health effects of GMOs. My investigation into the scientific literature tells another story.

    And contrast:

    Panchin, Alexander Y.; Tuzhikov, Alexander I. (January 14, 2016). "Published GMO studies find no evidence of harm when corrected for multiple comparisons". Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 37 (2): 213–217. doi:10.3109/07388551.2015.1130684. ISSN 0738-8551. PMID 26767435. S2CID 11786594. Here, we show that a number of articles some of which have strongly and negatively influenced the public opinion on GM crops and even provoked political actions, such as GMO embargo, share common flaws in the statistical evaluation of the data. Having accounted for these flaws, we conclude that the data presented in these articles does not provide any substantial evidence of GMO harm.

    The presented articles suggesting possible harm of GMOs received high public attention. However, despite their claims, they actually weaken the evidence for the harm and lack of substantial equivalency of studied GMOs. We emphasize that with over 1783 published articles on GMOs over the last 10 years it is expected that some of them should have reported undesired differences between GMOs and conventional crops even if no such differences exist in reality.

    and

    Yang, Y.T.; Chen, B. (2016). "Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 96 (4): 1851–1855. doi:10.1002/jsfa.7523. PMID 26536836. It is therefore not surprising that efforts to require labeling and to ban GMOs have been a growing political issue in the USA (citing Domingo and Bordonaba, 2011). Overall, a broad scientific consensus holds that currently marketed GM food poses no greater risk than conventional food... Major national and international science and medical associations have stated that no adverse human health effects related to GMO food have been reported or substantiated in peer-reviewed literature to date.

    Despite various concerns, today, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the World Health Organization, and many independent international science organizations agree that GMOs are just as safe as other foods. Compared with conventional breeding techniques, genetic engineering is far more precise and, in most cases, less likely to create an unexpected outcome.
  25. ^ "Statement by the AAAS Board of Directors On Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods" (PDF). American Association for the Advancement of Science. October 20, 2012. Retrieved August 30, 2019. The EU, for example, has invested more than €300 million in research on the biosafety of GMOs. Its recent report states: "The main conclusion to be drawn from the efforts of more than 130 research projects, covering a period of more than 25 years of research and involving more than 500 independent research groups, is that biotechnology, and in particular GMOs, are not per se more risky than e.g. conventional plant breeding technologies." The World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society, and every other respected organization that has examined the evidence has come to the same conclusion: consuming foods containing ingredients derived from GM crops is no riskier than consuming the same foods containing ingredients from crop plants modified by conventional plant improvement techniques.

    Pinholster, Ginger (October 25, 2012). "AAAS Board of Directors: Legally Mandating GM Food Labels Could "Mislead and Falsely Alarm Consumers"" (PDF). American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  26. ^ European Commission. Directorate-General for Research (2010). A decade of EU-funded GMO research (2001–2010) (PDF). Directorate-General for Research and Innovation. Biotechnologies, Agriculture, Food. European Commission, European Union. doi:10.2777/97784. ISBN 978-92-79-16344-9. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  27. ^ "AMA Report on Genetically Modified Crops and Foods (online summary)". American Medical Association. January 2001. Retrieved August 30, 2019. A report issued by the scientific council of the American Medical Association (AMA) says that no long-term health effects have been detected from the use of transgenic crops and genetically modified foods, and that these foods are substantially equivalent to their conventional counterparts. (from online summary prepared by ISAAA)" "Crops and foods produced using recombinant DNA techniques have been available for fewer than 10 years and no long-term effects have been detected to date. These foods are substantially equivalent to their conventional counterparts.

    (from original report by AMA: [3])
    {{cite web}}: External link in |quote= (help)"REPORT 2 OF THE COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (A-12): Labeling of Bioengineered Foods" (PDF). American Medical Association. 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-07. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Bioengineered foods have been consumed for close to 20 years, and during that time, no overt consequences on human health have been reported and/or substantiated in the peer-reviewed literature.
  28. ^ "Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms: United States. Public and Scholarly Opinion". Library of Congress. June 30, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Several scientific organizations in the US have issued studies or statements regarding the safety of GMOs indicating that there is no evidence that GMOs present unique safety risks compared to conventionally bred products. These include the National Research Council, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Medical Association. Groups in the US opposed to GMOs include some environmental organizations, organic farming organizations, and consumer organizations. A substantial number of legal academics have criticized the US's approach to regulating GMOs.
  29. ^ National Academies Of Sciences, Engineering; Division on Earth Life Studies; Board on Agriculture Natural Resources; Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops: Past Experience Future Prospects (2016). Genetically Engineered Crops: Experiences and Prospects. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (US). p. 149. doi:10.17226/23395. ISBN 978-0-309-43738-7. PMID 28230933. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Overall finding on purported adverse effects on human health of foods derived from GE crops: On the basis of detailed examination of comparisons of currently commercialized GE with non-GE foods in compositional analysis, acute and chronic animal toxicity tests, long-term data on health of livestock fed GE foods, and human epidemiological data, the committee found no differences that implicate a higher risk to human health from GE foods than from their non-GE counterparts.
  30. ^ "Frequently asked questions on genetically modified foods". World Health Organization. Retrieved August 30, 2019. Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.

    GM foods currently available on the international market have passed safety assessments and are not likely to present risks for human health. In addition, no effects on human health have been shown as a result of the consumption of such foods by the general population in the countries where they have been approved. Continuous application of safety assessments based on the Codex Alimentarius principles and, where appropriate, adequate post market monitoring, should form the basis for ensuring the safety of GM foods.
  31. ^ Haslberger, Alexander G. (2003). "Codex guidelines for GM foods include the analysis of unintended effects". Nature Biotechnology. 21 (7): 739–741. doi:10.1038/nbt0703-739. PMID 12833088. S2CID 2533628. These principles dictate a case-by-case premarket assessment that includes an evaluation of both direct and unintended effects.
  32. ^ Some medical organizations, including the British Medical Association, advocate further caution based upon the precautionary principle:

    "Genetically modified foods and health: a second interim statement" (PDF). British Medical Association. March 2004. Retrieved August 30, 2019. In our view, the potential for GM foods to cause harmful health effects is very small and many of the concerns expressed apply with equal vigour to conventionally derived foods. However, safety concerns cannot, as yet, be dismissed completely on the basis of information currently available.

    When seeking to optimise the balance between benefits and risks, it is prudent to err on the side of caution and, above all, learn from accumulating knowledge and experience. Any new technology such as genetic modification must be examined for possible benefits and risks to human health and the environment. As with all novel foods, safety assessments in relation to GM foods must be made on a case-by-case basis.

    Members of the GM jury project were briefed on various aspects of genetic modification by a diverse group of acknowledged experts in the relevant subjects. The GM jury reached the conclusion that the sale of GM foods currently available should be halted and the moratorium on commercial growth of GM crops should be continued. These conclusions were based on the precautionary principle and lack of evidence of any benefit. The Jury expressed concern over the impact of GM crops on farming, the environment, food safety and other potential health effects.

    The Royal Society review (2002) concluded that the risks to human health associated with the use of specific viral DNA sequences in GM plants are negligible, and while calling for caution in the introduction of potential allergens into food crops, stressed the absence of evidence that commercially available GM foods cause clinical allergic manifestations. The BMA shares the view that that there is no robust evidence to prove that GM foods are unsafe but we endorse the call for further research and surveillance to provide convincing evidence of safety and benefit.
  33. ^ Funk, Cary; Rainie, Lee (January 29, 2015). "Public and Scientists' Views on Science and Society". Pew Research Center. Retrieved August 30, 2019. The largest differences between the public and the AAAS scientists are found in beliefs about the safety of eating genetically modified (GM) foods. Nearly nine-in-ten (88%) scientists say it is generally safe to eat GM foods compared with 37% of the general public, a difference of 51 percentage points.
  34. ^ Marris, Claire (2001). "Public views on GMOs: deconstructing the myths". EMBO Reports. 2 (7): 545–548. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kve142. PMC 1083956. PMID 11463731.
  35. ^ Final Report of the PABE research project (December 2001). "Public Perceptions of Agricultural Biotechnologies in Europe". Commission of European Communities. Archived from the original on 2017-05-25. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  36. ^ Scott, Sydney E.; Inbar, Yoel; Rozin, Paul (2016). "Evidence for Absolute Moral Opposition to Genetically Modified Food in the United States" (PDF). Perspectives on Psychological Science. 11 (3): 315–324. doi:10.1177/1745691615621275. PMID 27217243. S2CID 261060.
  37. ^ "Restrictions on Genetically Modified Organisms". Library of Congress. June 9, 2015. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  38. ^ Bashshur, Ramona (February 2013). "FDA and Regulation of GMOs". American Bar Association. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  39. ^ Sifferlin, Alexandra (October 3, 2015). "Over Half of E.U. Countries Are Opting Out of GMOs". Time. Retrieved August 30, 2019.
  40. ^ Lynch, Diahanna; Vogel, David (April 5, 2001). "The Regulation of GMOs in Europe and the United States: A Case-Study of Contemporary European Regulatory Politics". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved August 30, 2019.