The issue has been gaining steam as initiatives regarding mandatory labeling have appeared on recent ballots of several states and one provisional measure has been passed in Vermont. Pressure continues to build for a national law on the issue, too.
The Going Non GMO in Supplements Forum will examine the issue from several angles. There is concern among some decision makers in the natural channel, proponents of the labeling initiatives and among consumers that the safety of genetic modification technology has not been decisively proven. And there is growing unease with the concentration of power in the hands of a very few companies that control the supply of GM seeds.
Even if the executives of some companies in the supplement sphere might disagree with these concerns, the decision of whether to label their products as GMO free might be forced upon them. The question then becomes, how difficult might that be, and how much lead time might a company need, or be granted, to comply? There is general agreement that the major points of risk for supplement manufacturers in regards to GMO free labeling are the excipients and processing aids used. With so much of the nation’s corn and soy acreage now planted with GMO crops, is there a pressing supply bottleneck for GMO free raw materials for excipients and processing aids? What can be done about it? And how doctrinaire might the GMO free specifications turn out to be? If an excipient might be processed to the point where no genetic information from the raw material remains, will that pass muster?
NutraIngedients-USA’s panel represents a broad swath of industry experience on the topic. The panel, which will be moderated by Senior Correspondent Hank Schultz, includes:
President, United Natural Products Alliance
Israelsen has long experience in the dietary supplements industry as an executive, consultant and trade organization principal. UNPA has examined the issue in a forum it hosted for industry in 2013. Israelsen has said in the past that dietary supplement companies have been slow to understand the challenge presented by GMO labeling, saying that “the issue is substantially more significant than dietary supplement companies think.” said Israelsen.
Director of Regulatory Affairs, FoodState Inc.
FoodState, the manufacturer of the MegaFood brand of whole food supplements, has long been associated with the push for GMO labeling, Davis said. “The majority of our core products are non GMO Project verified. Pretty much anything that can be verified is verified,” she said. Davis said the decision to move toward a non GMO positioning was taken both because it aligned with the company’s core mission and in response to the market.
Senior Vice President Science and Innovation/R&D, New Chapter
New Chapter has been an early advocate for mandatory GMO labeling as was a backer of the first state initiative on the subject, California’s Prop 37, which failed on the ballot in 2012. “New Chapter has been consistent and a leader on this issue from the beginning,” Rigby said. “We are the first whole line vitamin supplement company to be verified by the Non-GMO Project. The rigor that goes into the process is impressive. It gives our consumers confidence and it’s one of the reasons we proudly display that mark on our labels.”
Director of Special Projects, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage
Natural Grocers, a fast-growing chain headquartered in Colorado, has a unique model that splits the store more or less evenly between supplements and foods. “Natural Grocers does not consider these to be safe food ingredients, so we source as many GMO-free alternatives as possible. In particular, we focus on USDA certified organic products and ingredients which cannot by law be made from GMO derived ingredients. Our vendors are encouraged to use non-GMO ingredients in their products,” the company says.
Registration now open!
Registration for the forum is free and can be accessed by clicking HERE.