On May 18, 2015, SunOpta Inc., a “company specializing in the sourcing, processing and packaging of natural, organic and specialty food products” announced that it has become the first United States food manufacturer to receive verification under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Process Verified Program (PVP) for non-Genetically Modified (GMO) products. As a result of receiving this verification, SunOpta, Inc. is now permitted to market specifically approved products as non-GMO.
PVP is instituted by the federal government as a way for agribusinesses to assure customers of the quality of services and products provided. By submitting to USDA’s verification methods, agricultural products that attain PVP approval are permitted to be marketed as “USDA Process Verified.” Importantly, approved products are allowed to bear the official “USDA Process Verified” shield and term.
While PVP is a well-established program, a system for verification regarding of non-GMO products had not previously existed. Responding to market demand, SunOpta, Inc. voluntarily approached USDA and requested a method of formal review. As a result of SunOpta, Inc.’s action, other agricultural companies will now have the ability to submit to PVP procedures and work towards non-GMO verification.
Written by M. Sean High - Staff Attorney
May 20, 2015