But how does a company get into the non-GMO game? It might call FoodChain ID, a company in Fairfield, Iowa, that can shepherd a firm through the process. It’s one of the third-party auditors that certifies products for the Non-GMO Project.
“We start looking at ingredients, and we identify what are all the ingredients,” says David Carter, FoodChain ID’s general manager. “And of course, the label itself doesn’t always identify all of those. So we need to be sure that we have a list of all the processing aids, the carriers and all the inputs that go into a product.”
Next, FoodChain ID figures out where each ingredient and input came from. If there’s honey in cookies, for example, the company will have to show that the bees that make the honey aren’t feeding near genetically modified corn. When there’s even the smallest risk that an ingredient could contain a modified gene, DNA testing is in order.
FoodChain ID has a lab where a machine can extract the DNA from ingredient samples in order to analyze it. If that test finds no evidence of GMOs, the ingredient can go in the cookies. Carter says he can barely keep up with the number of inquiries coming in from companies that want certification.