In response to the natural food industry's—and consumers’—growing concern with regard to genetically modified organisms (GMOs) "cropping" up in the public food supply, Natural Food Certifiers (NFC) has added a new component to its growing roster of product supervision and certification programs: the NFC “GMO Guard” Verification Program.
"We are very proud to introduce and offer the GMO Guard Program," said NFC Director Rabbi Reuven Flamer. "It's a logical extension of the programs that NFC already offers, and one that is so timely and sought-after in the natural and organic food market today."
The GMO Guard verification program joins the impressive array of NFC's Food Certification programs, which include USDA Organic certification, Kosher Certification (under the “Apple K” label), Vegan Certification, and Gluten Guard, a gluten-free assurance program. By offering a portfolio of certification programs valued by natural and organic products consumers, NFC offers cost-effective, simultaneous, turnkey solutions for food manufacturers seeking to assure their customers of certified organic, non-GMO, kosher, vegan and/or gluten-free products.
"GMOs are the number one growing concern among health-conscious consumers and for businesses in the natural and organic food markets, as well as in the conventional food industry," explained Rabbi Flamer. "Recent studies show that GMOs may cause various kinds of health problems from digestive disturbances to food allergies, and that GMOs require more herbicides, which is really the opposite reason why GMOs were touted to be so environmentally helpful in the first place," he added. "For all of the many reasons that GMOs raise a red flag, physical and environmental, consumers simply don't want them in their foods, and our clients want to accommodate their customers."
In order to assess a new product for GMO Guard verification, NFC performs an intake—commitment and cost free—to analyze the product and will then advise clients of the next steps and costs to obtaining a seal. The process may include, but is not limited to, a request and review of the ingredient deck including country of origin and certificate of analysis, as well as inspection of manufacturing facilities.
Leading natural and organic products retailers such as Whole Foods Market are seeing growing demand for products that don’t use genetically engineered ingredients. Products that have a non-GMO assurance seal are seeing sales increases of 15 percent to 30 percent, according to Whole Foods Market President A.C. Gallo.