US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, also known as Monsanto’s errand boy, sent a letter to media outlets on May 1st of this year stating that the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) has, for a long time now, offered a Process Verified non-GMO label to food manufacturers. In the least, the claim has kicked up some dust to make understanding the USDA non-GM label claims a little difficult to see through.
Vilsack points to the USDA’s website, stating it “provides companies that supply agricultural products or services the opportunity to assure customers of their ability to provide consistent quality products or services,” with a Process Verified Seal. But this only requires companies to submit internal documentation on their goods or services – there is no outside inquiry into any claims they make.
So, essentially, the USDA certifies a company’s own internal practices based on their paper trail. For the first time, a company has sought the USDA’s Process Verified Label in connection for a product it sells, with a desire to claim non-GMO status.
There is no USDA non-GMO status that is externally vetted. A company could claim that the sky is made of Oreos and cottage cheese if they wanted to – as long as the ‘documentation’ from inside the company claims it is so – the USDA would have to issue this “Process Verified” label. That’s why last week, Natural Society launched a petition to keep the USDA in check. Posted with the headline “Don’t Let the USDA Ruin GMO Labeling,” we have already received around a thousand signatures demanding the agency bring in real testing protocols for their supposed labels.
An excerpt from the petition reads:
“The USDA has officially announced that it will soon be rolling out their new ‘Non-GMO labels’ worldwide. This is an organization that has admittedly given Monsanto ‘fast track approval‘ with less safety testing for their latest GMO crops. Now is the time to hold the USDA accountable for their Non-GMO labels, and to demand that the agency recruits the help of independent scientific agencies to verify the accuracy of these labels.”