CCOF Applauds Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) for Guidance on Non-GMO Label Claims

Non-GMO Claim Approved for Organic Meat and Poultry Products

(August 22, 2016) Santa Cruz, CA – The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the availability of new guidance on use of the term “non-GMO” to label meat, poultry, and egg products. The guidance clarifies that FSIS now considers organic certification to be sufficient documentation to support any claim related to the non-use of GMO ingredients. CCOF applauds this guidance and anticipates imminent FSIS-approval of CCOF’s “Organic is Non-GMO & More” seal.

FSIS issued the guidance in response to the recently-passed National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard law, which lists the term “non-GMO” as a claim to describe the absence of bioengineering in food. Prior to this guidance, FSIS primarily allowed terms such as “bioengineering” or “biotechnology,” and only allowed the term “non-GMO” on one third-party product logo. FSIS did not allow the use of the term “non-GMO” on certified organic products without further documentation.

The new FSIS guidance recognizes the long-established principle that organic is non-GMO. The use of GMOs is prohibited in organic production, and organic certification verifies a process in which producers do not use GMO inputs and also protect their crops and products from GMOs from farm to table.

CCOF has long advocated at FSIS for the allowance of the term non-GMO on certified organic products. CCOF also urged USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack to support allowance of non-GMO claims on certified organic products.

“This action is a win for consumers who deserve to know that organic is non-GMO and more,” said Cathy Calfo, CCOF’s Executive Director/CEO.

About CCOF
CCOF (California Certified Organic Farmers) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1973 that advances organic agriculture for a healthy world through organic certification, education, advocacy, and promotion. CCOF is based in Santa Cruz, California, and represents more than 3,000 certified organic members in 42 states and three countries.

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Robin Boyle, CCOF Director of Marketing and Sales
Author contact information: 

2155 Delaware Ave, Suite 150
Santa Cruz, CA 95060