What is the difference between 3rd Party Certification and Self Certification?
Third party certification is undertaken by an external body (often know as a ‘Certification Body’ or ‘Conformance Assessment Body’) to the business being certified. The certification is undertaken and the business audited against a documented standard. Strict guidelines are met prior to issuing of certificates and certification marks.
Self certification is undertaken by the business upon itself usually against an internal standard. Some people comment that self certification is like ‘marking your own exam paper’.
Generally, a third party certification against an appropriate standard provides a more robust assurance that the objective of a standard is being consistently met when compared to self certification.
Does ORGANIC mean non GMO?
No. Whilst organic standards typically contain a Non-GMO component, the standards are not focussed on this element. Consequently, in most organic standards, there is no need for a dedicated non-GMO IP system, GMO control systems and verification. As a rule of thumb, the strength of the non-GMO requirements in an organic standard are equivalent to legislative requirements for labelling.
What is the difference between Certification and Verification?
Certification is undertaken by a third party body against a standard and involves the objective review and validation of systems, procedures and verification activities of the business being certified. The results of this process, if the evidence meets the requirements of the standard, is certification and the licensing of the certification mark.
Verification is one part of the certification process and involves a review of systems against a standard. Verification asks the question “Has the system been correctly designed” and not necessarily, “is the system actually working”. The result of a verification system could be the licensing of a trade mark such as the GMO Project.
Certification may be used by an external body as evidence for a verification assessment. For example, verification systems such as the North American GMO Project may use our Non-GMO certification as the basis for approval for licensing.
If retailers/wholesalers sell a product as being NON GM how do the consumers know?
The suppliers of certified product can provide certification evidence to support this claim. Many simply print the certification mark onto their packaging, marketing material and corporate documentation to let consumers know that they have taken the important steps to achieve certification.
What testing is done on products imported into Australia to ensure there is no presence of GM material?
A very good question, and sadly, one we don’t know the answer to. We are trying to find out but suspect the testing is inadequate.
In Europe, during 2012 and 2013 over 100 cases occurred where illegal GMOs were detected (and rejected) at entrance ports. With large amounts of illegal GMOs being detected in Europe, there would be no reason to argue that at least similar amounts of illegal GMOs are not being imported into Australia.
Check our noticeboard for updates on illegal GMOs in food intercepted in Europe and the countries of origin.