An ingredient supplier’s view of non-GMO certification
By its own account, BI Nutraceuticals (Long Beach, CA) is “the largest supplier of botanical ingredients in the US.” Along with its flagship botanical powders, the company’s teas, extracts, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and more wind up in dietary supplements, foods and beverages, pharmaceuticals and personal- and pet-care products sold far and wide
Given BI’s commitment to attaining SQF, USDA Organic, kosher, halal and gluten-free certifications, one could reasonably suspect that the company would have a pointed view on the current state of non-GMO certification. And it does. Randy Kreienbrink, director of marketing, and Alison Raban, a certified food scientist with the company, give us their views.
Non-GMO certification isn’t as important to ingredient suppliers like them as it is to finished-product manufacturers.
“We’ll do our part,” Kreienbrink says. “But we’re not making finished products. So what’s the real role for us, and why would there be a need for us to meet the certification requirement of the Non-GMO Project Verified as an ingredient supplier?”
“For us right now,” Raban says, “we’re educating our customers on what they need from us if they want to get certified from a group like Non-GMO Project Verified. We work with our customers to make sure they have everything they need from our end for their certification. But for us, we don’t see the value.”
Certification has its costs.
“It’ll cost more money, and the extra third-party testing with the specified labs is going to make it hard,” Kreienbrink notes.
Raban agrees. “It’s a complex issue because our customers are making products for consumers, so they have to work with the stores and the store buyers” who might demand non-GMO certification, she says. “But then they also have a bottom line, as well.”
For them, USDA Organic holds the real value.
“Obviously, we see the value in organic, because organic is through USDA and they have so much more history,” Raban says. “And there’s more transparency in what the requirements are to get organic certification. I think there’s more value in that.”