Some FoodChain ID clients have asked why the Non-GMO Project offers non-GMO verification rather than non-GMO certification.
While the two terms may seem interchangeable, they are actually different. Though neither one has an absolute legal meaning, each appears often in regulations and rules having to do with governmental or official private bodies and requirements, or in standards meant to prove that a process is accurate or valid.
Verification relates to the examination of the status of information pertaining to a process, product, fact, or documentation to determine its compliance (or lack of compliance) to a set of rules. Often this is done by asking questions, in order to confirm. One can verify the authenticity and validity of a passport, stamping “cleared” onto a passenger’s travel ticket. Or, in our case, verification refers to the validity of meeting the requirements of the Non-GMO Project Standard, which accords companies the right to use the Non-GMO Project Butterfly seal on their product packaging and in marketing.
Due to its many benefits, the Non-GMO Project Verified seal can help increase a product’s saleability, and often does.
Certification has to do with an official or authoritative written declaration stating that something or someone has met a certain status or requirement that meets the assurance needs of users, and is based on a requirements database, tests, and traceability. Examples are food safety certifications such as SQF and BRC.
So… Is it Non-GMO certification or Non-GMO verification? For the purposes of meeting the requirements of the Non-GMO Project Standard — which all products enrolled with the Project must do — it’s non-GMO verification, not non-GMO certification.