Behind the Label
Posted on Aug 29, 2009
An industry group of organic and natural food producers is attempting to develop a standard for non-genetically modified and organic food. Existing labels declaring food “organic” are based as marketing devices, not on an actual standard of rigorous testing. —J.C.
The New York Times:
Alarmed that genetically engineered crops may be finding their way into organic and natural foods, an industry group has begun a campaign to test products and label those that are largely free of biotech ingredients.
With farmers using gene-altered seeds to grow much of North America’s corn, soybeans, canola and sugar, ingredients derived from biotech crops have become hard for food companies to avoid. But many makers of organic and natural foods are convinced that their credibility in the marketplace requires them to do so.
The industry group, the Non-GMO Project, says its new label is aimed at reassuring consumers and will be backed by rigorous testing.
“There’s a vulnerability here that the industry is addressing,” said Michael J. Potter, the founder and president of Eden Foods and a board member of the Non-GMO Project, the organization responsible for the testing and labeling campaign.
Critics are wondering how helpful it will be for industry groups to be the arbiters of what it means to be organic.