NSF International announces new Non-GMO certification program.

  • As the food industry knows, “Non-GMO” claims — i.e., claims advertising the non-use of genetic modification (GM) in food production — have become popular and desirable from a marketing standpoint, despite the lack of any clear regulatory definition or oversight of such claims.  The Non GMO Project has been a leader in the claim certification space, with their logo appearing on numerous products in the marketplace.
  • NSF International has announced the launch of a new certification program called “True North.”  According to the company, True North incorporates elements from GM labeling regulations worldwide (including EU and Vermont requirements).  It also takes into account practices such as segregation, traceability, and supplier approval and monitoring programs.  Further, the program requires unannounced audits, unannounced chain of custody sampling, and independent testing calibrated to risk level.  Manufacturers also must perform routine product testing.
  • Much remains unsettled in terms of GM labeling regulations in the U.S.  With the status of the Vermont law still under debate and the House-passed GM bill stalled, the future of “Non-GMO” claims and private certification programs is unclear.  If the House GM bill ultimately becomes law, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will begin administering a voluntary “Non-GMO” claim certification program (akin to the organic labeling regime), which could significantly undercut the market desirability and value of private certification programs.