Association to hold seminar on 'The Non-GMO Future'

UNPA: ‘We sense that the GMO issue is substantially more significant than dietary supplement companies think’

By Stephen DANIELLS

- Last updated on GMT

UNPA: ‘We sense that the GMO issue is substantially more significant than dietary supplement companies think’

Related tags: Gmo labeling, Genetically modified organism

Dietary supplement manufacturers need to consider the implications of possible GMO labeling initiatives, with the issue more challenging than many think, says UNPA’s Loren Israelsen.

Speaking to NutraIngredients-USA, Israelsen, executive director of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), said: “I believe GMO labeling is inevitable from the standpoint that consumers want it. The big question is whether it will be mandated by law. That remains to be seen.

“If there is a trend of one or two states to pass GMO labeling laws, and the likelihood is good, then others will follow. If you get three to five or six states passing GMP labeling statutes, will Congress step in and prevent a patchwork effect?

“It’s a very emotional issue, and temperatures on both sides will rise quickly.”

Seminar

Despite speculation about how the issue will develop in terms of regulation, what is certain is that consumers are interested in GMO labeling, said Israelsen, and retailers are saying they will give consumers what they want.

“The marketplace will do the job,”​ he said.

So how big is the issue for dietary supplement manufacturers? “We sense that the issue is substantially more significant than dietary supplement companies think,”​ said Israelsen.

“There is not the practice of testing in-bound materials for GMO status. If you look at the core GMO crops and their derivatives, then it could be a difficult situation.

israelsen3
Loren Israelsen, Executive Director, UNPA

To help companies understand the challenges and implications, UNPA is hosting a day-long seminar, “The Non-GMO Future:  How to Source, Test, Label and Market Food and Supplement Ingredients”​,​ on May 23 in Salt Lake City.

“The reason we’re doing the seminar is that awareness in dietary supplements remains low. If you sell into Whole Foods or aspire to sell to them, you need to understand the GMO supply chain. This all begins with being informed.

“If you don’t understand the issues at the start of the day, you most certainly will by the end of the day, and you’ll have a list of questions to take back to discuss with your colleagues.”

Speakers including Courtney Pineau, assistant director of The Non-GMO Project, Robert Craven, CEO of FoodState / MegaFood, Dr. John Fagan, Founder & CSO of Global ID, Sandy Kepler, CEO of FoodChain Global Advisors, Adam Ismail, executive director of GOED, Steven Hoffman, managing director of Compass Natural, LLC, and Ken Roseboro, editor & publisher of The Organic & Non-GMO Report and The Non-GMO Sourcebook.

State and federal initiatives

GMO labeling laws are pending in many states, and Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Peter DeFazio recently introduced a federal GMO labeling bill​.

Speaking at the time, Sen Boxer said: “Americans have the right to know what is in the food they eat so they can make the best choices for their families. 

“This legislation is supported by a broad coalition of consumer groups, businesses, farmers, fishermen and parents who all agree that consumers deserve more – not less – information about the food they buy.”

The Genetically Engineered Food Right-to-Know Act​ would require clear labels for genetically engineered whole foods and processed foods, including fish and seafood. The measure would direct the FDA to write new labeling standards that are consistent with U.S. labeling standards and international standards.

Seminar

Israelsen said consumer demand for non-GMO foods and dietary supplements has caused a scramble within the industry to understand supply chain requirements, labeling issues, testing for GMOs and perhaps, most significantly, the likelihood of state legislation mandating labeling distinctions between GMO and non-GMO products.

For more information and to register for the UNPA seminar, please visit: https://unpa.com/

Related topics: Markets, Going non-GMO

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