CCOF Expands GMO Testing

In response to the California Department of Food and Agriculture’s (CDFA) recent GMO testing pilot project results, CCOF has expanded its GMO testing and will assist CDFA in identifying any potential source of inadvertent GMO presence along the organic supply chain.

Following a request made by CCOF members at our Annual Meeting in 2015, and upon the recommendation of the California State Advisory Committee (COPAC), CDFA launched the GMO testing pilot project last year. The goal of the project is to evaluate the risk of GMO presence in organic products.

On May 3, 2017, CDFA reported on the progress of the project to COPAC, which advises the Secretary of CDFA on state enforcement of national organic standards. CDFA reported that it conducted 23 blind laboratory tests of various commodities. Varying level of GMOs were detected in some animal feed products, including two animal feed samples with 100 percent GMO detection.

At the meeting, COPAC passed a motion reaffirming its commitment to identifying and removing GMOs from organic systems. It also directed CDFA to continue the pilot project. CDFA will now use a sampling process that is not blind, so future tests results will be associated with operations from where the samples were taken.

The use of GMOs is prohibited in organic standards, which is verified through the rigorous organic certification and annual inspection processes. Additional testing from CDFA is a valuable tool for correcting any mistakes along the supply chain and facilitating rapid investigation of rare cases of fraud. CCOF will also expand its testing program, investigate as needed, and continue to work with producers to ensure they implement practices to avoid inadvertent contact with GMOs.

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