Non-GMO Project Verified

I found this label on a box of cereal. IMG_1009It is strategically placed beside the notable nutritional nuggets that one might be looking for on a product. The placement of the non-GMO project verified logo plays into perceived ‘healthy facts’ of this cereal.

A quick Internet search will take you to the home page of this non-profit organization, where the stated goal reads, “Working together to ensure the sustained availability of non-GMO food and products”. This organization started in California, and operates a headquarters in Washington State.

The discussion on GMO’s is so widespread, so enormous, that this humble blog will not be able to touch on the entirety of the topic. However, the goal is to help consumers wade through the mis-leading marketing when buying food. I will draw your attention to the page The “Non GMO Project Verified” seal, and the explanation under the heading “Are products bearing the Non-GMO Project Verified seal GMO free?” The explanation, in my opinion, makes the entire organization’s project collapse on itself,

“GMO free and similar claims are not legally or scientifically defensible due to limitations of testing methodology.”

Don’t get this comment on testing methodology confused with testing how safe products are for human consumption. The testing mentioned here, relates to testing products for the presence of GMO’s. The section continues to say,

“In addition, the risk of contamination to seeds, crops, ingredients and products is too high to reliably claim that a product is GMO-free.”

What should be more important on this box is the nutritional value. It really is excellent marketing that places need-to-know nutritional information right beside a label for an organization that has no scientific foundation. That’s why we buy and eat food in the first place! For nutrition, fuel for our bodies, snacks for kids, not to support an organization’s dead-end attempt to claim products are GMO-free.

Having overloaded you with information about this particular label, I urge you to check out the Health Canada website that covers biotechnology and genetically modified foods, particularly the safety assessment of genetically modified foods. I trust Health Canada; I think we should as Canadians. I think we should rest assured that our Canadian standards for food safety are among the top in the world. A company producing a genetically modified corn or soybean cannot just produce it one day, and sell it to consumers the next. There are extremely stringent protocols of testing that are completed over many years before Health Canada considers any product safe. Health Canada’s safety assessments consider everything from the molecular biological data of the genetic change, the nutritional composition compared to its non-modified counterparts, and the potential for causing allergic reactions.

I hope this has increased understanding of the genetically modified food registration process. Bottom line, borrowed from Health Canada, is that food derived from biotechnology, or genetic engineering, is as safe and nutritious as foods already in the Canadian marketplace.

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