TORONTO, April 18, 2012 /CNW/ - Front Door Organics (FDO) is hard at work addressing the serious concern of GMO (genetically modified organism) contamination of organic food.
In response to customer queries about GMOs finding their way into organic food and the ever increasing presence of genetically engineered crops in North America, FDO has outlined a GMO Avoidance Action Plan.
A recent US poll showed that 92% of consumers want GMOs labelled.1 "Nobody wants to be a part of this science experiment and it is really important that we continue to voice this over and over again," said Angela Donnelly, owner/operator.
By its very definition, certified organic food CANNOT be produced using GMOs - either on the farm or at the processing stage. The concern of GMOs in organic food lies in the simple and unarguable fact that 'the wind will always blow' - cross-pollination, or out-crossing, is one of the biggest concerns for non-GMO and organic farmers. Large scale processing with multiple ingredients by manufacturers not exclusively producing organic food also leaves open opportunities for organic foods to be unknowingly contaminated.
"We see the increasing prevalence of GMO crops in North America as the most serious threat to our food security not to mention the ever growing organic food industry. FDO only sources certified organic products and we're extremely concerned about maintaining the integrity of our organic food supply," said JJ Sheppard, who regularly screens and selects the products FDO carries.
Here are the key steps to Front Door Organics' GMO Avoidance Action Plan:
Front Door Organics has become a Supporting Retailer of the Non-GMO Project. The Non-GMO Project is a non-profit organization in Washington State, USA, that has developed the only third party independent testing based verification program for GMO contamination in North America using the European established threshold of 0.9%. Without legislated compulsory GMO labelling in Canada and the US, FDO believes the Non-GMO Projects verification program is the 'next best thing' for people seeking assurance they are not buying and consuming GMOs.
FDO has scrutinized its entire product list. For those products containing risk ingredients (soy, corn, canola or sugar), the manufacturer has been contacted directly regarding the source of that ingredient and their efforts to avoid GMO contamination. If no response or an unsatisfactory response was given, FDO has de-listed and re-sourced the product in question. Additionally, all manufacturers of the products that aren't Non-GMO Project Verified have been contacted to suggest they submit their products to the verification program. This review process is now a part of FDO's regular process of listing new products.
"Through our work so far, we have found that, like us, other organic businesses are very concerned about the increasing prevalence of genetically engineered crops and are also going to great lengths to prevent their products and farms from being contaminated. The certifying bodies and producers we have been talking to are all very rigid in their adherence to the standards in place (both in the US and in Canada)." - JJ Sheppard.
The words 'Non-GMO Project Verified' are now displayed in the online account section for those products that are enrolled in the above mentioned verification program. This is in addition to the labels Fair Trade, Kosher, Vegan and Wheat Free that are also currently in use in their online store.
FDO endeavours to provide its customers with clear and easy to understand information about GMOs: their policy regarding GMOs is outlined in the Our Buying Practices page (in the About FDO section) on their Web site and they have added a section of FAQs about GMOs in their Customer Service pages. They regularly discuss genetic engineering issues with their social media audiences and include information about GMOs in their newsletters.
"The future of our organic food really is under serious threat. FDO is only a tiny business in comparison to other Toronto food retailers but we are seeking to provide our customers with the cleanest and safest food - and we will do all that we can to this end," said Donnelly.
FDO, owned and operated by partners, Angela Donnelly and JJ Sheppard, has been in business since 1997 and is one of Toronto's first organic home delivery companies.
1 Center for Food Safety, Polls on GMO Labeling
For further information:
or to arrange for an interview with Angela Donnelly or JJ Sheppard, please contact:
Michaela Temmen, Communications