The Non-GMO Project
|Headquarters||Bellingham, Washington, United States|
|Megan Westgate, Executive Director|
Number of employees
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, with the stated aim to label products produced in compliance with their Non-GMO Project Standard, 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.
In 2007, two natural food retailers formed the project, with a goal of creating a standardized definition for non-genetically modified organisms. The project worked with FoodChain Global Advisors which provided the scientific and technical expertise. In spring 2007, the project's board of directors was expanded to include representatives from additional groups, and formed advisory boards for technical and policy issues.
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, provides the technical capabilities.
The Non-GMO Project claims to "educate consumers and the food industry to help build awareness about GMOs and their impact on our health",. It asserts that everyone deserves an informed choice about whether or not to consume genetically modified organisms. Their primary strategy for providing consumers an informed choice and protecting a non-genetically modified food supply is to leverage the power of the marketplace.
Standard and label
The Non-GMO Project maintains a consensus-based standard, 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. The process is managed through a web-based application and evaluation program developed for the project. The project's label indicates compliance with the standards.
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). 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.
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.
- Board of Directors The Non-GMO Project
- "The Standard – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- 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.
- "Natural" food retailers to set non-biotech standard, Food Chemical News
- "History – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-10-04. Retrieved 2009-10-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- The Non-GMO Project History
- The Organic & Non-GMO Report. April 2007 The Organic and Non-GMO Report:The Non-GMO Project rises to forefront of natural food industry
- 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
- "Non-GMO Project: About". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Q+A with Megan Westgate". Daily Camera.
- "Seeking Food Ingredients That Aren't Gene-Altered". New York Times. Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "The Standard – The Non-GMO Project". Nongmoproject.org. Retrieved 2017-06-12.
- Westgate, Megan. "Top 3 Things to Know About the Non-GMO Project". Retrieved 12 June 2013.
- "Global ID was engaged by the Non-GMO Project to design and administer a non-GMO verification program." Golden Triangle Newspapers  Archived June 14, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Non-GMO Project: Understanding Our Seal.,
- "Food Expenditures".
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-12-26. Retrieved 2013-12-11.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Nicolia A, Manzo A, Veronesi F, Rosellini D (March 2014). "An overview of the last 10 years of genetically engineered crop safety research". Critical Reviews in Biotechnology. 34 (1): 77–88. doi:10.3109/07388551.2013.823595. PMID 24041244.
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.
- "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 8 February 2016.
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).
- Ronald P (May 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).
- But see also:
Domingo JL, Giné Bordonaba J (May 2011). "A literature review on the safety assessment of genetically modified plants". Environment International. 37 (4): 734–42. 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 S (2015). "An Illusory Consensus behind GMO Health Assessment" (PDF). Science, Technology, & Human Values. 40 (6): 883–914. doi:10.1177/0162243915598381.
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 AY, Tuzhikov AI (March 2017). "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. PMID 26767435.
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 YT, Chen B (April 2016). "Governing GMOs in the USA: science, law and public health". Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 96 (6): 1851–5. 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.