Non-GMO vs. Non-GMO Project Verified


GMOs (genetically modified organisms) are organisms whose genetic material has been manipulated in a lab. This creates genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.

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Non-GMO Project Verified products may be produced using similar processes as conventional Non-GMO products; however, a Non-GMO Project Verified seal means that a product has completed a comprehensive third-party verification program for compliance with the rigorous Non-GMO project standard. The Non-GMO Project Verified seal means best practices were followed to avoid the use of GMOs


Get your product Non-GMO Project Verified

Ongoing testing of any ingredient being grown commercially in GMO form must be tested prior to use in a verified product.

Food grade items are accepted as Non-GMO Verified if they test at orbelow a 0.9% contamination rate and feed grade items are accepted with a 5% or lower contamination rate.

Continuous improvement practices toward achieving this goal must be part of the Participant’s quality management systems.

After the test, rigorous traceability and segregation practices are to be followed in order to ensure ingredient integrity through to the finished product.

For ingredients not being grown commercially in GMO form, a thorough review of ingredient specification sheets is done to determine absence of GMO risk.

Verification is maintained through an annual audit, along with onsite inspections for high-risk products.

Non-GMO Project Verified FAQs

Agricultural products are segmented into two groups: (1) those that are high-risk of being GMO because they are currently in commercial production, and (2) those that have a monitored risk because suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred and/or the crops have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination (and consequently contamination ¹) is possible.

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High-Risk Crops (in commercial production; ingredients derived from these must be tested every time prior to use in Non-GMO Project Verified products (as of December 2011):

  • Alfalfa (first planting 2011)
  • Canola (approx. 90% of U.S. crop)
  • Corn (approx. 88% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Cotton (approx. 90% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Papaya (most of Hawaiian crop; approximately 988 acres)
  • Soy (approx. 94% of U.S. crop in 2011)
  • Sugar Beets (approx. 95% of U.S. crop in 2010)
  • Zucchini and Yellow Summer Squash (approx. 5,000 acres)

Appendix B of the Non-GMO Project Standard lists a number of high-risk inputs, including those derived from GMO microorganisms, the above crops, and animal and bee products due to feed or forage containing these crops or their derivatives.

Monitored Crops (those for which suspected or known incidents of contamination have occurred, and those crops which have genetically modified relatives in commercial production with which cross-pollination is possible; we test these crops as needed to assess risk and move them to the “high-risk” category if we see significant risk of GMO contamination):

  • Beta vulgaris (e.g., chard, table beets)
  • Brassica napa (e.g., rutabaga, Siberian kale)
  • Brassica rapa (e.g., bok choy, mizuna, Chinese cabbage, turnip, rapini, tatsoi)
  • Cucurbita (acorn squash, delicata squash, patty pan)
  • Flax
  • Rice
  • Wheat
  • Potato
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In today’s competitive market it is in a farmer’s best interest to produce at or below the Non-GMO Project Verified threshold requirements to ensure procurement viability for their crops.