GMO Transparency Services

  • Overview
  • Benefits
  • Why Work With NSF?
  • Non-GMO Project Verification
  • NSF Non-GMO True North

Today’s consumers care about what’s in their food. The increase in demand for transparency around genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and genetically engineered (GE) food requires a trusted and credible partner to help guide manufacturers and retailers through the non-GMO/GE certification process.

NSF International’s Consumer Values Verified team offers a suite of GMO transparency services, including Non-GMO Project verification and certification to NSF’s Non-GMO True North program. We strive to make this complex process as streamlined as possible for our producer, manufacturer, retailer and restaurant partners.

We also offer other food safety certifications and services to save you both time and expense, and to minimize any disruptions in your operations. We have a thorough understanding of complicated GMO issues and provide a team of experienced program managers and inspectors who care about your business and work together to deliver seamless service you can trust.

To learn how our suite of GMO transparency services can enhance your business, complete the inquiry form or email us at nongmo@nsf.org, and one of our non-GMO experts will contact you.

Benefits

Non-GMO/GE products are projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15 percent over the next five years to comprise 15 percent of global food and beverage retail sales, a market value of $800 billion by 2017, according to Packaged Facts.

Other benefits of non-GMO/GE certification include:

  • Increased opportunities for market share and market differentiators
  • Ability to meet consumer and retailer demand for non-GMO/GE labeling
  • Access to global non-GMO/GE markets
  • Comprehensive risk management
  • Compliance with emerging retail, industry and government requirements
  • Increased consumer confidence and loyalty
  • Independent, third-party credibility for non-GMO/GE claims
  • Compliance with varied domestic and international GMO labeling regulations

Why Work With NSF?

NSF has a clear understanding of complex GMO issues. Our certification process for each program has been refined to be streamlined and seamless so we can efficiently and accurately certify your products. NSF’s broad expertise helps us go above and beyond other certifiers. Besides our exceptional service, NSF also provides free online educational resources and webinars. As the preferred certifier for some of the most respected national retailers, we provide you the same first-class customer service that thousands of businesses who trust NSF’s food certification and auditing expertise have come to expect. Our strong industry relationships are a testament to our exemplary customer service, and they help us stay ahead of market trends.

NSF is fully equipped to certify your products wherever you are. We have a global network of hundreds of expert auditors, program managers, inspectors and laboratory staff ready to provide top-notch certification services.

In addition, we can maximize your cost efficiencies and minimize operational disruptions by bundling GMO transparency certifications with other label claims, food safety and GFSI certification services such as:

Food Safety

Non-GMO Project Verification

Since 2008, the Non-GMO Project has verified over 20,000 products from over 2,200 brands as non-GMO. Products that have been Non-GMO Project verified include food, beverages, baby food and infant formula, body care products, pet products, vitamins and supplements, wholesale ingredients, animal feed and planting seed.

Products that have passed the Non-GMO Project’s independent verification process are issued a seal of approval. The Non-GMO verified seal assures consumers that these products have been produced according to consensus-based best practices for GMO (genetically modified organism) avoidance.

For more information about the Non-GMO Project, please visit its website.

Enrollment

Enrolling for Non-GMO Project verification with NSF International is done in two easy steps:

  1. Complete the Non-GMO Project’s Verification Inquiry Form. This will be sent to Non-GMO Project administrators for evaluation.
  2. When you have been accepted by the Non-GMO Project, complete NSF’s Non-GMO Project Inquiry Form. This form will be evaluated by an NSF representative who will then contact you with information on the next steps of the verification process.

Verification Process

When you have completed enrollment with both the Non-GMO Project and NSF, your dedicated NSF project manager will contact you to begin the six-step verification process. The core requirements of the Non-GMO Project standard are traceability, segregation and testing at critical control points to verify that products do not contain genetically modified ingredients.

Step 1: Application
You submit basic information about your products, ingredients, number of facilities, etc. and a sign a participating company agreement and licensing agreement.

Step 2: Document Submission
You provide detailed information about the product(s) you are submitting for review. This includes ingredient lists, production facility information, test results, etc.

Step 3: Document Review
An NSF technical evaluator reviews the documents you have submitted. We may ask for clarification or more information during the review.

Step 4: Pre-Assessment Report and Quote
Your NSF project manager sends you a pre-assessment report and quote for you to review and approve.

At this step, if you would like to bundle inspections to save time and money, please let us know. The Non-GMO Project verification inspection can be combined with USDA organic, NSF gluten-free, SQF, BRC, GLOBALG.A.P., PrimusGFS and CanadaGAP inspections.

Step 5: On-Site Inspection
If applicable, we schedule an on-site inspection with you. We can bundle this inspection with other label claim and GFSI certification inspections.

Step 6: Certification and Ongoing Compliance
Congratulations! Your products are now Non-GMO Project verified and you can use the certification mark!

NSF Non-GMO True North

NSF Non-GMO True North was created to assure the integrity of GMO claims and to grow the breadth and diversity of non-GMO/GE verified products sold at retail, and non-GMO certified ingredients sold throughout the supply chain. True North incorporates elements from the EU and Vermont GMO labeling requirements and pulls best practice from commonly used leading food safety standards. Download the NSF Non-GMO True North Standard.

The basic tenets of the NSF Non-GMO True North program are consistent with other compliance verification programs − segregation, traceability, supplier approval, monitoring and testing. Additionally, to ensure consumer confidence and transparency, NSF Non-GMO True North requires risk assessment-based unannounced audits, unannounced chain of custody sampling and independent testing. It also requires manufacturers to perform routine testing.

Tolerance levels are in place which account for the realities of the broader supply chain risks and limitations, ensuring that a market exists to allow more businesses to enter the non-GMO field in order to meet the growing consumer demands worldwide and driving continuous improvement in the supply of non-GMO agricultural value added product.

True North provides an exacting direction for producers, including ranchers, farmers, processors and manufacturers, to use as a guide for their practices. True North standards require:

  • Finished products with less than 0.9 percent GE content (5 percent for feed)
  • Lifecycle feed requirements – Upon weaning or first feed following birth
  • Dairy – Milk cows fed non‐GMO feed a minimum 30 days prior to first certified milking and thereafter
  • Risk-based testing requirements (validated testing method like PCR, ELISA, etc.)
  • Annual audit (risk-based – desk versus onsite)
  • No cloned animals
  • Compliance management system with risk assessment

Certification Process

Step 1: Application
You submit an initial application fee and a completed application packet which includes basic information about your products, ingredient and, number of facilities, as well as a risk assessment. This information helps NSF establish a quote through determination of the product/process risk profile, the documents required for review and whether an initial onsite audit and/or sample testing is required.

Step 2: Evaluation Plan, Documentation Request and Quote
NSF prepares an evaluation plan, documentation request and service contract with a quote. At this step, if you would like to bundle inspections to save time and money, please let us know. The True North certification inspection can be combined with USDA organic, NSF gluten-free, SQF, BRC, GLOBALG.A.P., PrimusGFS and CanadaGAP inspections. To complete this step, send us the signed contract with quote along with your certification fee payment.

Step 3: Document Submission
You submit detailed information about the processes and product(s) for review. This includes SOPs, production facility information, test results, etc.

Step 4: Document Review
An NSF technical evaluator reviews the documents you have submitted. We may ask for clarification or more information during the review.

Step 5: On-Site Inspection
If applicable, we will schedule an on-site inspection with you. We can bundle this inspection with other label claim and GFSI certification audits. Records and procedures will be inspected, and samples may be collected for testing.

Step 6: Corrective Action Review and Certification Decision
Any required corrective action responses will be reviewed for compliance and a certification decision is made.

Step 7: Certification and Ongoing Compliance
Congratulations! Products approved for certification are now eligible to use the NSF certified non-GMO/GE logo.

Contact NSF International

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  • Open How soon can I expect to be verified?

    Once NSF has received all of your application documents and payment, you can expect to receive a pre-assessment review letter in three to four weeks. Upon NSF’s receipt of your complete response to the letter, you can expect to receive your verification decision in about eight weeks.

  • Open How do you define a “primary participant”?

    The primary participant is the company that enrolls in the Non-GMO Project’s Product Verification Program. This is the entity that is seeking Non-GMO Project verification and will “own” the verification certificate.

  • Open How do you define the “location seeking verification”?

    This is the physical address of the location seeking verification. The name and address of the location seeking verification should be the same as the company that wishes to own the verification process and certificate, sign a contract with NSF, pay the NSF fees and be the NSF client. The location seeking verification may be the same location as the primary participant. Alternatively, if the primary participant is already enrolled, the location may be an additional location, which is owned by the primary participant.

  • Open How do you define the “primary contact”?

    The primary contact should be the person responsible for the Non-GMO Project program at the location seeking verification. This is the person NSF will contact regarding the verification process.

  • Open How do you define a “brand owner”?

    A brand owner is any entity that owns a specific brand or ID mark and contracts third parties to manufacture products under that brand or ID mark.

    Note: Brand owner that manufacture, process or repack their own product, as well as those that own or manage any of their facilities, should seek verification as a handler and complete the Non-GMO Project Handler Compliance Plan and profile forms.

  • Open What are the brand owner compliance requirements?

    The brand owner compliance requirements are outlined in NSF’s Brand Owner Compliance Plan. Essentially the brand owner must meet the same basic compliance requirements as any Non-GMO Project participant for traceability, compliant inputs and testing. The brand owner must also ensure that all co-packers are either Variance #9 approved co-packers or Non-GMO Project verified participants

  • Open How do you define a co-packer vs. a handler?

    A handler is any production or handling operation seeking verification to sell, label or otherwise represent goods with any Non-GMO Project verified claim.

    A co-packer is a type of handler. However, some co-packers, which co-pack for Non-GMO Project verified brand owners, may be approved to handle Non-GMO Project verified product under Variance #9.

  • Open What are the co-packer requirements?

    Co-packers must be either fully enrolled Non-GMO Project verified participants or Variance #9 approved co-packers.

    Variance #9 approved co-packers must have a contractual relationship with the brand owner/primary participant, produce product of a system (such as organic certification and other identity preservation systems) that has been designed to avoid GMOs and have a defined plan for becoming fully enrolled in the Non-GMO Project Product Verification Program within a defined time frame, not to exceed three years. Alternatively, the brand owner may sponsor the facility survey and on-site inspection for contracted operations.

    For specific details, please see the Non-GMO Project Standard – Variance #9.

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