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OTA: organic certification enough for non-GMO claims

By Maggie Hennessy , 04-Jun-2014
Last updated on 05-Jun-2014 at 20:05 GMT

OTA: organic certification enough for non-GMO claims

The Organic Trade Association says that third-party certification under the USDA National Organic Program is sufficient for non-GMO label claims, calling organic production is the optimal solution to US agriculture, according to a statement from its board of directors. 

“OTA prefers the USDA Organic seal and ‘certified organic by…’ as the primary and sole messaging on organic products regarding the absence of GMOs, bioengineering, or other excluded methods associated with genetic engineering.”

For a product to be certified organic, it can't be genetically modified; however, organic product manufacturers are increasingly seeking non-GMO certification from third parties such as the Non-GMO Project for added validation. Indeed, while OTA says the organic seal is sufficient to substantiate a product that is non-GMO, it doesn’t oppose voluntary third-party non-GMO verification, noting that “each company may need to respond to competitive pressures and consumer needs.”

The trade group also raises issue with the potential inaccuracy of the labeling term “GMO-free,” recommending non-GMO be used when associated with production of organic agricultural products.

The group continues to call for a moratorium on GMOs in agriculture and supports mandatory GMO labeling. (Read OTA’s complete position on GMOs .)

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