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Top 3 Things to Know About the Non-GMO Project

By Megan Westgate, April 16, 2013  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Megan Westgate

Non-GMO Project Executive Director Megan Westgate is a strong advocate of informed consumer choice. She helped start the Project in 2006 after her work at Food Conspiracy Co-op in Tucson, AZ showed her firsthand how little information was available to help shoppers make choices about GMOs. 

If you’re like most Americans, you want to know what’s in the food you’re eating and feeding to your family — and that includes GMOs (genetically modified organisms). While GMOs are labeled or banned in more than 60 other countries, in the U.S. and Canada they are unlabeled and are found in nearly 80% of processed food.

Non GMO ProjectThat’s where the Non-GMO Project comes in. Founded in 2007, “the Project” offers North America’s only third-party verification program and labeling for non-GMO food and products. In the absence of mandatory labeling, it’s a way for you to get the information you need to make choices about GMOs. With the help of retailers like Whole Foods Market®, you can easily find lots of Non-GMO Project Verified options when you shop.

Whether you are already committed to buying non-GMO, or you are just starting to learn about it, here are some key things to know about the Non-GMO Project and what it means when you see our little orange butterfly on a label.

  1. Mission Driven. The Non-GMO Project is a 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to preserve and build the non-GMO food supply, and to give eaters an informed choice. We believe that YOU are an essential ally in accomplishing this mission. Our primary strategy is to leverage the power of the marketplace. Every time you choose Non-GMO Project Verified products, you are voting with your dollars for a non-GMO food supply. The market is already responding — Non-GMO Project Verified has become the fastest growing claim in the natural products industry.
  2. Ongoing Ingredient Testing. People often assume that verification is based on pulling products here and there and testing them. Our requirements are actually MUCH more rigorous than that. The Non-GMO Project Standard requires ongoing testing of all major high-risk ingredients, like those made from corn, soy, canola, etc. In order to be used in a Verified product, an ingredient must first be tested. We use an Action Threshold of 0.9%, which lines up with standards in Europe. In addition to this ongoing testing, we also have a quarterly surveillance testing program just to double-check that everything is operating as it should be. You can read a summary or the full text of the 36-page Non-GMO Project Standard on our website.
  3. Consistency & Transparency. Third-party verification is an essential mechanism for making sure that product claims are meaningful. Because non-GMO claims are not regulated, it’s important to be aware that just because someone says something is non-GMO doesn’t necessarily mean that it is. When you see the Non-GMO Project Verified butterfly, you know that the product has been made in compliance with our strict standards. The requirements are consistent, and they are also transparent — anyone can look at our standard and see exactly what it takes to earn our label.

We firmly believe that you have the right to know what’s in your food so you can make choices about what you feed yourself and your family. The Non-GMO Project mission is succeeding because of committed consumers like you. So look for that little orange butterfly when you shop!

For ongoing news and updates, follow The Non-GMO Project on Facebook.

Category: Food Issues




debra says ...
So I'm not sure I get this. Are all products going to begin showing a butterfly if they are NOT GMO? Which kinds of products, what stores? When does this go into effect? Specific details please. Who, what, when, where and how.
04/17/2013 11:23:11 AM CDT
Reese says ...
So is this true...? you sell things with GMO's and don't list it? I am reading on natural news.com?
04/17/2013 1:02:27 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DEBRA - The products that will have the Non-GMO Project seal will be products that have gone through their verification process. You can also look for organic products (as they are regulated by the USDA and do not contain GMOs) and our 365 Everyday Value products, their plant derived ingredients are sourced to avoid GMOs. You can search for other products that have gone through the NON-GMO Project verification process on their website at http://www.nongmoproject.org/find-non-gmo/search-participating-products/. You can find the seals on products right now in our stores.
04/17/2013 1:49:51 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@REESE - Due to the pervasiveness of GMOs in the US food supply and no mandatory labeling regulations, there are products in our stores that contain GMOs. We think that consumers have the right to know what is in their food so we recently announced that we will be labeling GMOs in our stores. You can read more at http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/blog/gmo-labeling-coming-whole-foods-market.
04/17/2013 1:51:48 PM CDT
Ray Goldberg says ...
I commend Whole Foods for at least taking a Pro Active step in the right direction in relation to non GMO Foods. It is up to us, the public, to voice our dissatisfaction with the Governments Policies relevant to GMO Banning/Labling and shop only where you are able to check the validity of non GMO products. Cell phone Aps such as Fooducate also go a very long way for the public to ascertain what it is they are buying.
05/24/2013 2:05:42 PM CDT
trudy miranda says ...
Tom's should be on labels so ppl can decide! Like cigarettes ppl will still buy if they want to assume the risk!
05/29/2013 9:22:53 AM CDT
scott says ...
congrats,i always shop from whole foods,please keep it up this way guys,you are doing great,please dont sell any GMO at all
05/30/2013 12:28:19 AM CDT
Joel says ...
Thank you for providing Non GMO food choices! As a busy parent who is concerned about GMO foods, I am grateful that Wholefoods provides an alternative without having to spend hours researching which foods are Non GMO. You have my business!
06/06/2013 7:48:54 PM CDT
jessica says ...
I've noticed alot of the foods at the deli counter in Whole Foods contain canola oil, is it safe to assume that is Organic canola oil and is non-GMO?
06/10/2013 12:35:28 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@JESSICA - We use non-GMO canola oil in all of our Prepared Foods items.
06/11/2013 10:47:42 AM CDT
Petra Matrundola says ...
Thank you to Whole Foods for having passion about healthy food and a heathy planet. Please continue to do all you can regarding Non-GMO in your stores. I would like to suggest that certain aisles should be designated NON-GMO or GMO-FREE. I encourage all who are concerned about GMO to visit www.blunt.fm (click on "Listening Room" and go to July 12, 2009) where you can hear Bryan Farnum, a highly spiritually gifted man, deliver a profound message to the world concerning GMO. The topics include: 1) Nine ways in which GMO crops destroy the soil 2) What is the potential economic impact of GMO foods? 3) What is the solution to the GMO crisis?
06/13/2013 3:18:39 PM CDT
Dee says ...
I'm wondering about the origin of the non-GMO project. I was told that if you look deeply you will find government mis-truths hiding in this project and the goal isn't as pure as it claims. I was at our local co-op the other day and a few people there were talking about it and saying you can't even trust the non-GMO project label. Also, I don't like the idea that you are confusing people by putting the label on companies that may not have a GMO in that brand but their parent company is full of evil. I think it's just a way of confusing people. For example, Kashi. Do I want to support this company that is owned by Kelloggs only because they have the label on their box? No, I don't. Buy encouraging people to support this project you are also supporting Monsanto. If people are still buying the products affiliated with the parent company, then they still win.
07/10/2013 7:36:45 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@DEE - The Non-GMO Project was formed by a group of natural grocery stores in 2003 that wanted to give consumers informed shopping choices. I have NEVER heard of their non-profit having any "government hidings" that you refer to. You can read more about their history at http://www.nongmoproject.org/about/history/. As I said, their goal is to allow consumers to make informed decisions while shopping. We encourage each individual to make their own personal decisions incorporating any additional criteria that remains important to them when purchasing a product. For more information about a manufacturer’s policies, or to express your opinions directly to them, we suggest you contact them directly.
07/12/2013 2:48:53 PM CDT
Martha Galan says ...
Why are you waiting until 2018 to implement the labeling of non GMO's? Why are you waiting 5 years! One year is sufficient! I guess I'll wait to shop at your store until then!!
07/22/2013 7:25:58 AM CDT
Colleen says ...
This is such bullcrap!! Those of us who are aware and have done our research know that Whole Foods sold out a long time ago. We know Monsanto bought Whole Foods and this GMO project is just as corrupt as the USDA. Nikki- I am sorry if you are brainwashed into believing what your company tells you, and if not.. I don't know how you sleep at night defending such evil. Disgusting.
08/12/2013 5:09:05 AM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@COLLEEN - I can assure you that I have by no means been brainwashed. The silly rumors of us being bought out by Monsanto is completely untrue. I also moderate our national Twitter account and have seen Monsanto confirm that they do not own us in any way or have any affiliation with our company. We have announced GMO labeling for our stores which should be pretty clear that we do not have an affiliation with Monsanto.
08/12/2013 1:19:24 PM CDT
melissa says ...
I'm just curious who owns this NON GMO Project company
08/20/2013 5:40:40 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MELISSA - The Non-GMO Project is governed by a Board of Directors. They also work with a collaborative network of technical and communications advisers from all backgrounds and sectors. You can find a list of board members at http://www.nongmoproject.org/about/who-we-are/.
08/21/2013 4:01:42 PM CDT
Josh says ...
REMEMBER, A LOT of NON-GMO verified products sold in health food stores are made by companies with some sort of tie-in to Monsanto... Start with HAIN CELESTIAL GROUP
09/17/2013 2:58:00 PM CDT
Susan says ...
we need to know the truth, it should be told to everyone. We should know what we are eating.
12/21/2013 3:39:36 PM CST
Brenda Fitzpatrick says ...
I want to find out if crookneck squash and zucchini seeds and plants sold by nurseries to home gardeners are also genetically modified.
03/03/2014 8:35:23 AM CST
Andrea G. says ...
THANK YOU!!!! :)
03/18/2014 3:28:19 PM CDT
mary jackson says ...
Veg Lakeshore of Holland Michigan is invited to do some larger corporate tabling events this summer, our first one is in 2 weeks, we expect about 1000 guests and would like to have some info to hand out on why being educated on the facts of GMO's is vital. Do you have any materials we could obtain? We would like some larger quantities, could you get back to me soon. Thank you Mary Jackson
06/03/2014 6:14:49 PM CDT
Nikki - Community Moderator says ...
@MARY - I would suggest reaching out to the Non-GMO Project so see if they offer printed pamphlets or talking points or if you can order any. We typically print our posters in house and do not take larger orders. Maybe they can even get you the design of the template and you can have the images printed at a professional printing company. Here is contact info for them! info@nongmoproject.org or Office:877.358.9240
06/04/2014 2:07:38 PM CDT
Sherry Roberts says ...
Thank you for all you do! Is non gmo a requirement for the organic label yet? How much of organic vegetables are grown from gmo seeds?
06/11/2014 9:34:32 AM CDT