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SunOpta’s manufacturing facility in Minnesota is the first to be PVP-verified for a non-GMO claim by the USDA.
For the first time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Process Verified Program (PVP) has verified a company’s non-genetically modified organisms (GMO)/non-genetically engineered (GE) claim.
On May 18, SunOpta (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) announced that its Hope, Minnesota facility is the first in the United States to receive USDA PVP verification for being non-GE/GMO. The facility will now be able to produce PVP-verified non-GMO soybeans and corn.
According to Supermarket News, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told USDA employees that “other companies are already lining up to take advantage of this service.”
Yet, although this is USDA’s first foray into PVP-verification of non-GMO products, the agency has still not gone so far as to set its own non-GMO standard
“Instead, it has verified that one company’s manufacturing facility has met its own standard when making a claim that its product is non-GMO,” according to a press release from the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA, Silver Spring, MD).
AHPA also raised concerns that the USDA’s Natural Organic Program (NOP) and the non-GMO verification program by PVP are being coordinated separately, despite both being administered by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS).
“Products that meet the NOP standard should also have their non-GMO labels recognized as verified instead of having to pay an additional fee for a claim that has already been verified by AMS through NOP,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin, in a press release. “USDA should be commended for their effort to meet consumer demand for information about non-GMO products, but it seems unlikely that the PVP will provide the comprehensive solution needed to address this issue. Ultimately, a more comprehensive solution is needed.”
Steve Bromley, CEO of SunOpta, called USDA’s non-GMO verification a “great honor for SunOpta and consistent with our commitment to non-GMO and organic food products which are in high demand with today’s consumers.”
“Having USDA verify that we are complying with out standards ensures that our customers can be confident that they are getting the highest quality non-GMO soybeans and corn,” said Bromley, in a press release. “We look forward to implementing the USDA PVP program at other SunOpta facilities.”
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