BRIDGEWATER, N.J., Sep 14, 2004 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- National Starch has expanded its crop identity-preservation program and implemented a broader, documented identity-tracing program to verify the non-genetically modified organism (non-GMO) status of the company's food ingredients.
The program, named TRUETRACE(TM), provides customers with traceability for National's food ingredients at all stages of their development, from seed to crop, to production and distribution. The program covers all the company's food ingredients made from corn grown in the United States.
Protecting corn varieties from adventitious contamination and providing traceability is becoming ever more challenging because farmers in the corn-belt of United States have been greatly increasing their acreage of GM corn crops over the last few years. Currently, between one third and one half of the corn acreage in the corn-belt states is being used to grow GM corn, and that is projected to increase considerably in the next few years.
"The ability to provide fully traceable documentation that grain grown in the US is from non-GM sources is becoming increasingly more important, especially as more regulations are implemented to require this traceability," said Joe Emling, manager, grain quality and traceability, agribusiness, National Starch and Chemical Company. Currently, European Union regulations require food producers of genetically modified organisms to inform purchasers of all the stages of the GM product's production and distribution. Although EU laws require the traceability of genetically modified products, they do not explicitly require traceability for non-GM products. National Starch's TRUETRACE program will make information available to customers in Europe and elsewhere who request it.
TRUETRACE adheres to the guidelines of the British Retail Consortium/Food and Drinks Federation (BRC/FDF) Technical Standard for the Supply of Identity Preserved Non-Genetically Modified Food Ingredients and Products. This standard represents the best practices available for ensuring the proper segregation and documentation of non-GM corn and provides for non-GM identity preservation and traceability that meets or exceeds regulations in major markets worldwide.
Starting at the source
Growers in National's TRUETRACE program grow non-GM corn exclusively or take special precautions to isolate GM corn from non-GM corn to avoid cross-contamination. These growers provide National with extensive documentation of their seed varieties, field locations, and equipment cleaning, which are subject to periodic audits. Corn delivered to National Starch manufacturing facilities can thus be traced to the original farm on which it was grown and the seed varieties used in production.
"Our customers value the non-GM status of our modified food, functional native and resistant starches," said Mike Klacik, Senior Director of Nutrition and Bioscience, National Starch and Chemical Company. "National Starch is able to provide the TRUETRACE program because of its direct, long-standing relationships with corn growers in its primary contracting areas, and because it has a team of experts in plant science, agronomy, supply chain logistics and regulatory affairs. This infrastructure and the know-how make it possible for us to offer this quality assurance program to our customers."
National Starch and Chemical Company is a worldwide manufacturer of natural polymers, specialty polymers, adhesives and electronic and engineering materials, with 2003 sales of $3.05 billion. National Starch is headquartered in Bridgewater, N.J., and is a member of the ICI Group.