Natural Food Certifiers (NFC), known for its organic, kosher, gluten and vegan certification programs has launched GMO Guard, a third party verification program certifying non-GMO foods. The category of non-GMO certifiers has been slim compared with organic or kosher certification programs. Currently, the largest non-GMO certification program in the U.S. is the Non-GMO Project.
The announcement came last month after NFC received repeated inquiries from organic clients, reports New Hope 360. NFC Founder and Director, Rabbi Reuven Flamer said, "Their concerns confirmed what we had already thought: that organic certified producers were feeling pressured to certify a no-GMO label, even though the organic label implies no GMOs to begin with, which is the standard in the National Organic Program."
Despite being certified organic, organic products can contain trace amounts of GMOs through accidental contamination via crop drift. GMO Guard will allow .05 percent as the threshold tolerance level because the ability to detect below that becomes increasingly more difficult, says Flamer, "I have been educated that there is no scientific zero level to be able to say something is zero level of gluten or zero level of, in this case, GMO," he says. "So that's why we brought it as low as we could, to .05."
With Whole Foods' recent announcement to label all foods containing genetically modified ingredients (by 2018), there is undoubtedly a growing consumer interest in finding GMO-free options that are clearly marked as such. For manufacturers interested in obtaining the certification through NFC, the process will average between three and four weeks, Flamer estimates, depending on variables including travel time to the manufacturing facility or farm and the number of ingredients being used in a product needing verification.
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