by Julia Westbrook
What you need to know about the rumors of a USDA non-GMO label.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be certifying GMO-free foods… sort of.
In a letter, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said that an unnamed company asked the USDA to apply its USDA Process Verified label to a GMO-free claim on corn and soybean products.
This Process Verified label is administered for a cost through the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS). It has previously been used to assess claims of “humanely raised” or “no antibiotics ever.”
“AMS worked with the company to develop testing and verification processes to verify the non-GE claim,” Vilsack wrote, noting that the official announcement will come out soon and “companies are already lining up to take advantage of this service.”
The Non-GMO Verified Project, however, says that this isn’t the label consumers are really asking for. “Through this program, the USDA certifies a company’s own internal practices based on their documented quality management system,” says the Non-GMO Verified Project on their site. “There is no transparency as to what these practices are, and they are not based on a third-party standard.”
Meaning, the USDA has not created it’s own GMO-free certification. Until that time, remember that USDA organic is always GMO-free and the independent Non-GMO Verified Project seal is third-party tested.
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