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9 Essential Points about Non-GMO Project Testing

Do products enrolled in the Non-GMO Project (NGP) product verification program require testing?

For some brand owners, manufacturers, growers, and others seeking to earn the Non-GMO Project (NGP) Verified label for products, GMO testing is required. Testing determines a product’s compliance with the Non-GMO Project Standard, which details the requirements for product verification.

You’ll learn of your testing requirements, if any, as part of your free cost estimate and GMO-risk assessment.

9 points regarding the NGP’s testing requirements

1. GMO testing is usually conducted on individual ingredients. The NGP verification program considers each ingredient separately; therefore, testing is usually required to be conducted on individual ingredients rather than on multi-ingredient finished products.

2. Any required testing for food products must be conducted by the DNA-based real-time PCR method. PCR is the industry standard used to validate claims, verify contracts, and ensure regulatory compliance.

3. To be deemed compliant with the Standard, the GMO content of an ingredient must be no more than the relevant “action threshold” defined by the Standard. The Standard defines specific action thresholds for seed, human food, animal feed, and other products.

4. Testing is often required for ingredients derived from crops that are considered high GMO-risk. These crops (as of April 2015) are alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, papaya, soybean, sugar beet, yellow summer squash, and zucchini.

5. The testing plan must cover the GMO risks in the crop. For example, for GMO testing of an ingredient derived from corn, the testing plan must cover all commercialized GM corn varieties, as specified by the NGP.

6. Testing must be done by an NGP approved lab that is accredited to ISO 17025. ISO 17025 accreditation is the industry’s standard for laboratory excellence. The Non-GMO Project Standard requires that the laboratory must be accredited for each specific test used.

7. Your specific sampling and testing plans must be approved by your NGP technical administrator (e.g., FoodChain ID) and must be designed to achieve 90% confidence in quantification of GMO at the action threshold set by the Standard.

8. For verification of highly processed ingredients, it may be necessary to test a precursor. For example, rather than testing refined canola oil, testing may be conducted at an earlier stage of production (e.g., at the crude oil stage, or on the seed).

9. For the verification of animal-derived products, testing is conducted on the animal feed, rather than on finished products such as meat, milk, eggs and cheese.

We hope these points have helped your understanding of PCR-based GMO testing for Non-GMO Project verification.

Note: All FoodChain ID clients receive free a GMO testing consultation and discounts on GMO testing with its sister company, Genetic ID.

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