Genetic modification is any change to the heritable traits of an organism achieved by intentional manipulation, such as changing the code or organization of the genetic material. Foods that have been modified by genetic manipulation are known as genetically modified, genetically engineered, or biotechnology-derived foods. There is an increasing trend in the marketplace to advertise foods that do not use genetically modified ingredients. To make this type of claim, companies must have verification, with many companies relying on third-party verification of their products.
GMO stands for “genetically modified organisms”, and there has been an increased focus within the marketplace on products containing genetically modified ingredients. Genetic modification is any change to the heritable traits of an organism achieved by intentional manipulation, such as changing the code or organization of the genetic material. Foods that have been modified by genetic manipulation are known as genetically modified (GM) foods, genetically engineered (GE) foods or biotechnology-derived foods.
In Canada, product labels do not have to identify the method of production used to develop a food, including genetic modification. The only requirement for labelling these types of foods exists when these foods have significant nutritional or compositional changes or when potential health and safety risks exist. However, many companies have chosen to voluntarily declare the use of or non-use of GE ingredients, which is permissible as long as these claims are truthful, not misleading, not deceptive and not likely to create a false impression of the food’s character, value, composition, merit or safety. The Standard for Voluntary Labelling and Advertising of Foods That Are and Are Not Products of Genetic Engineering outlines guidelines for this type of labelling.
In order to make a claim that a food is or is not a product of genetic engineering requires verification. This can include testing, detection methods, inspection, and audit tracking. Third party verification is available, with the Non-GMO Project being one organization which issues a verification seal indicating a product has gone through their Product Verification Program (PVP) and complies with the Non-GMO Project Standard. The verification process itself requires documentation evaluation, including ingredient statements, certificates of analysis, test results, and standard operating procedures, and may also include on-site inspections.
NHP Consulting has consultants with extensive experience in standard operating procedure preparation and review as well as facility audits.