‘GMO-free’ certification launched in Australia

  • May 20, 2013
  • Sophie Langley

A new certification body for genetically modified organism free (GMO-free) foods has been launched in Australia.

GMO-ID Australia, a subsidiary of accreditation body HACCP International Pty Ltd, which has specialised in product certification for the food industry since 1998, will use the ‘Cert ID Non GMO’ (Cert ID) certification system in Australia and the Pacific region.

The Cert ID system will offer a range of third party certification schemes aimed at the food industry, including farmers and growers through to manufacturers, suppliers, retailers and foodservice businesses. Certified organisations will be listed on the GMO-ID Australia website.

‘GMO-free’ labelling growing globally, but slowly

The use of GMO-free labelling is growing, according to global market research organisation Innova Market Insights, as interest in ‘natural’ products increases.

“In addition to the compulsory labelling regulations in place in the EU since the 1990s, there has also been a more recent move to verify and more easily identify ‘GMO-free’ food and drinks,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights.

There is a particular interest in using GMO-free labelling for dairy products, according to Innova Market Insights, with Germany and Austria leading developments in that category. Austria’s ongoing interest in marketing the purity of its dairy products resulted in an increased combination of ‘pasture’ milk with GMO-free claims, which spread to Germany. Innova Market Insights said the late-2012 introduction by dairy manufacturer Arla of its Bergbauern Emmentaler and Bergkäse cheeses, marketed as being made with pure pasture milk and carrying a “GMO-free” logo, illustrated this trend.

“The demand for GMO-free labelling seems set to continue to grow as a marketing tool globally, as even where GMO foods have to be labelled, such as in the EU, there is still apparently demand for easy recognition of GMO-free lines as the use of logos and certification schemes continues to grow,” said Ms Williams.

But compared to other similar claims, the growth in GMO-free labelling is relatively small. In terms of product activity, launches featuring GMO-free claims and labelling remain relatively limited on a global scale, according to Innova Market Insights. Just 1.1 per cent of new products globally used ‘GMO-free’ labelling. Innova Market Insights said this figure rose slightly in Europe and Australasia, but fell to less than 1 per cent in North America and Asia.

By comparison nearly 13 per cent of launches in the year to March 2013 were marketed on an ‘additive-free’ or ‘preservative-free’ platform, nearly 7 per cent were marketed as ‘natural’, and 6 per cent were labelled as ‘organic’.

Products with ‘GMO-free’ labelling

In terms of products carrying ‘GMO-free’ claims, snacks, dairy and bakery ingredients had the largest number of launches, according to Innova Market Insights, accounting for 14.1 per cent, 13.3 per cent and 12.5 per cent of global ‘GMO-free’ launches respectively. Innova Market Insights said the prevalence of ‘GMO-free’ labelling in these categories reflected the significance of GMO ingredients in sectors using high levels of cereals for food or feed.

Innova Market Insights said they also recorded a wide range of new product launches in the US marketed as ‘GMO-free’ in the year to March 2013. These included Breakfast Smoothies and drinks from Bolthouse Farms, Silk soy milk lines and Plum Kids organic baby food products, as well as more specialist products such as the Amy’s Bowl Meals range and Garden of Eatin tortilla chips. New organic milks from retailer own-brands such as Fresh and Easy, which is owned by UK supermarket group Tesco, also used the ‘GMO-free’ labelling.

GMO labelling law passes House of Reps in Vermont in US

Meanwhile, the House of Representatives in the US State of Vermont has passed the H.112 Bill, which requires that all genetically modified food in the State be labelled.

The Bill also restricts products containing genetically engineered ingredients from using labels such as ‘natural’, ‘naturally made’, ‘naturally grown’, ‘all natural’ “or any words of similar import that would have  a tendency to mislead a consumer”.

In order to become law, the Bill will need to be passed in the Senate. If passed by the Senate, the Bill would take effect from 1 July 2014.

According to the Bill, 70 to 80 per cent of processed foods sold in the US contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient.

AusVeg to host GMO debate

Meanwhile, Australian vegetable and potato growers’ representative body AusVeg is set to host what it is calling ‘The Great Debate’ at its annual National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence.

The debate will see speakers from each side of the GMO debate discuss the benefits and risks of genetic modification in foods.

“The four speakers involved have been handpicked for their passionate involvement in the GM debate, and we look forward to hearing their views on this controversial discussion,” said William Churchill, AusVeg Public Affairs Manager.

Debating for the use of GMO will be Paula Fitzgerald, Manger of Biotechnology at Dairy Australia and Executive Director at Agrifood Awareness, and Professor TJ Higgins, who is an Honorary Research Fellow in CSIRO’s Plant Industry department

Debating against the use of GMO will be Mr Scott Kinnear, Director and co-founder of the Safe Food Foundation and Institute, and Dr Maarten Stapper, Director at BioLogic AgFood.

The Great Debate will take place as a major attraction of the AusVeg National Convention, Trade Show and Awards for Excellence, which will be held at Jupiters Gold Coast from 30 May to 1 June. The Great Debate itself will be held on Saturday 31 May, starting at 11.50am.



Reader Comments

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14 Responses to “‘GMO-free’ certification launched in Australia”

  1. Tom Brown on May 20th, 2013 9:08 pm

    We the consuming public have the right to know what we are eating, accordingly all food should be labelled with information as whether GMO ingredients have been used.

  2. Jenelle Sullivan on May 29th, 2013 1:55 pm

    Please, please label the GMO free food do we can find it. There is so much out there that contains some GMO’S it is very hard to have a healthy diet. GMO’S are poison and we want the right to choose.

  3. Michelle on May 30th, 2013 12:12 am

    interesting that I just posted a comment giving links to studies about GMO effects ie birth defects, farmer suicides, cattle dying from eating GMO corn, the media blackout regarding “march against Monsanto” etc….and guess what? It never posted………….

  4. Michelle on May 30th, 2013 12:25 am

    here’s the links: http://proliberty.com/observer/20090408.htm (about the bees dying off due to Monsanto’s pesticides

  5. Meg Guilfoil on May 30th, 2013 10:51 am

    We have a right to know where are food is sourced and what’s in it. Bottom line.

  6. Jade miller on May 30th, 2013 3:31 pm

    As Tom brown stated on the 20th! At least give us the adequate information to make our own decisions in regards to GM foods.

  7. Emma Anderson on May 30th, 2013 5:19 pm

    Yes to labelling GMO free food and certification! This way, we don’t need to worry about it the other way around so much (labelling GMO) where greedy corporations and partnered governments find loop holes in labelling GMO. Already in Australia, we have foods with GMO present and we don’t even know because highly refined ingredients such as oils don’t need to be labelled and neither do accidental ingredients (even if the GMO contamination is just 1% allowance at this point in time, it is still present in the product… no thanks). GMO’s are a hazard and have shown to be so in independent studies with NO connection to those promoting GMO. It is common sense they are a hazard, playing with nature like that. The cross contamination amongst plants, the super weeds, the super resistant bugs, the excessive pesticdes… all irreversibly effecting our environment. What a mess. They should be banned. What happened to the people having a say….!!!!!!! All the best to those debating for no GMO tomorrow!!!

  8. Keri Reid on May 30th, 2013 8:24 pm

    Please ban GMO’s or at least label them!

  9. Peter on May 30th, 2013 10:01 pm

    This is just soo great. We need this right now.
    I was about to start something similar but you will now save me doing that.
    I just need to say one thing.
    Certification bodies are being watered down as some companies in them become large and money becomes there focus.
    This has proved in America to be a disaster because the large companies get the certifying body to slightly water down the rules to allow more money to be made.
    I know for a fact that this is happening in Australia.
    Once these certifying bodies are compromised, they lose their credibility with the consumer. I for one will not buy any organic certified food from the US. The USDA has lost all relevance.
    So I beg you to keep this in mind.
    We consumers are getting stronger all the time.
    We have ears and eyes everywhere and if you loosen your rules on what passes for a GMO, you will be noticed.
    I wish you every success in helping us the consumers to detect GMO food.
    If we know what is GMO, we can vote with our dollars and support good food. This will be the main way we can eradicate Monsanto.


  10. gemma on May 31st, 2013 4:16 pm

    There is NO BIG DEBATE on GMO foods! Nobody who is NOT a biotech employee actually wants the mutant stuff! The only way they have still managed to be sold here in Australia is thanks to FSANZ’s non existent labelling + public ignorance of them!

  11. Kerry Mac on July 8th, 2013 10:25 pm

    If there was no problems with consuming GMO products then there would be no issue with labelling them adequately so we, the consumer can make our own informed choices. Make a decent product & it will sell itself, make a dodgy product & people won’t but it. It would be nice if it was that simple but sadly it seems it’s still all about big corporations & big bucks buying their way through deceiving the public. Isnt it a crime to poison someone so why should contamination of our food sources be legal in the first place. When will our governing bodies finally work for the people as they are meant to instead of selling out.

  12. gloria burt on July 9th, 2013 8:46 am

    I would be relieved if i could look on the label and it said”no g.m.o.”we have only just starting to learn about it and we are in our retirement yrs so want to be healthy as possible.

    Thanks to all the people taking an interest in our food, keep it up !

  13. Linda on September 22nd, 2013 9:29 pm

    Please please please stop gmo produce nob envirody wants it evidence is mounting on health enviroment and ethics dont let greed destroy us bless those who have the intelligence to stop the disasterous effects gmos haveremember the bees and helpful micro organisms

  14. R. Astby on October 20th, 2013 9:24 pm

    Research Rats fed GMO grain, then resulting in Cancers & Tumours,. Scientists succinctly found the reasons to be, because the Immune System didn’t recognise the cells brought on by the GMOs.” What a wonderful world we have to look forward to, thanks to this biotech. Jugganaut – Immune System Breakdown all round. And there are other ways we have to persist, re feeding the world. And we can’t allow Monsanto to give themselves the face of philanthopist as the biotech answer to feed the world or it will be doomsday for all of us.Other natural solutions have to be maintained. And the destruction of bee populations is mounting.

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