Monarch Butterfly Non-GMO Project Precautionary Principle
The Newest Non-GMO Project Standard is Out Now!

You already know that the Non-GMO Project is a nonprofit organization committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers, and providing verified non-GMO choices. We believe everyone has a right to know what is in their food and deserves access to non-GMO choices and we work hard to give families the power to change the way their food is grown and made just by making informed choices in the grocery store. 

Efficient supply chain transformation requires consistent, uniform standards. That’s why we created our Product Verification Program and the Non-GMO Project Standard. The Standard sets the rules for what it means to be non-GMO and what it takes to get Non-GMO Project Verified. Every product is subject to the same set of rules and products must meet all of the compliance requirements laid out in this document in order to use our butterfly mark. These requirements center on three foundational ideas: testing, affidavits, and segregation.

Testing: Major, testable, high-risk inputs need to be tested in a lab before they can become part of a Non-GMO Project Verified product. These tests are usually quantitative. Not only can they tell whether there is GMO DNA in a sample, but these tests can also tell exactly how much contamination occurred. 

Affidavits: There are some GMOs that laboratories can’t test for yet. When testing is not a feasible way to prove something is non-GMO, the Project uses a process-based approach that includes comprehensive affidavits as an alternate validation tool.

Segregation: Non-GMO inputs need to be kept completely separate from GMOs all the way through the supply chain in order to prevent commingling. This means food producers need to have systems in place for cleaning out equipment and keeping non-GMO inputs pristine.

Why Does the Non-GMO Project Standard Change?

The Non-GMO Project Standard is a living document. It changes biennially in order to remain current and address new threats to the supply chain. As new types of GMOs emerge, we update the Standard and its High-Risk List to make sure we are positioned to protect our food supply most effectively. For example, Version 15 tightens up rules for products that are derived from microorganisms such as yeast and bacteria. Genetically modified microorganisms are common, and new types of them are entering the food supply all the time. The Non-GMO Project Standard changes to stay ahead of emerging GMOs like these. 

The Standard must be both meaningful and achievable in order to effectively build a non-GMO food supply. If it were too easy to get Verified, the supply chain wouldn’t be forced to change enough. If it were impossible to meet our Standard, then no products would get Verified and suppliers would have very little incentive to switch to non-GMO sources. Revising the Standard helps the Non-GMO Project make sure that this delicate balance is always achieved.

Regular updates also allow the Standard to be as collaborative as possible. We couldn’t have made North America’s most rigorous Standard for GMO avoidance in a vacuum—we needed input from farmers, food producers, legislators, brand partners, technical experts, and shoppers. You can help too! We always want to know what you think about the Non-GMO Project Standard. The more specific your feedback is, the more helpful it is. Submit a comment online any time. 

The Same Butterfly You Know and Trust Just Got a Little Bit More Rigorous. 

The Butterfly won’t look any different when you see it on your favorite products, but now you can rest assured that North America’s most trusted label for GMO avoidance is even better. The Non-GMO Project Standard is available online for free. You can read it in its entirety anytime you want! You can also check out the new Summary of Changes to find out what’s different this time around. 

Have questions about the Non-GMO Project Standard? Post them in the comments!

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