Getting your guard up

Prop 37, which would have required mandatory labeling of products containing GMOs may have voted down by California voters last November, but one look at the number of votes cast in favor of the measure and it was obvious public concern was not going to go away any time soon.

Officials at Natural Food Certifiers apparently agree. Last month, the company announced that they have added the GMO Guard Verification to its growing roster of product supervision and certification programs, a list that also includes USDA Organic certification, Kosher Certification (under the “Apple K” label), Vegan Certification and Gluten Guard, a gluten-free assurance program.

Suppliers wishing to obtain a GMO Guard seal for their products start the process by submitting the item (s) to NFC who will then analyze the product for free. From there, NFC officials will advise of the next steps and costs to obtaining a seal. The process may include a request and review of the ingredient deck including country of origin and certificate of analysis, as well as an inspection of the manufacturing facilities. “There are a number of environmental and physical reasons pushing health-conscious consumers to seek out products free from GMOs today,” says Rabbi Reuven Flamer, the director of NFC. He says this, combined with the number of studies backing the assertion that consuming GMOs can cause a variety of health problems, is jointly fueling interest in transparency today. The intent of the GMO Guard seal, he adds, was to make it easy for consumers to distinguish products that do not contain GMOs from those that do.

I am sure there some who read this and think verifying products that are free from GMOs could be overkill and still others who believe we are over- labeling our products at the risk of confusing consumers, but proponents of this new certification say the time has come to accept the fact that we are an information-driven society in which consumers vote with their dollars and the “less is more” adage simply does not apply anymore. I don’t know about you, but from where I sit it’s hard to disagree with that.

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