Non-GMO National Starch gets seal of approval
non-GMO program this week, but warned it will become more costly to
ensure non-contamination in the future, Philippa Nuttall
Inspection company SGS certified both of National Starch Food Innovation's corn starch factories, confirming they turn out non-GMO products that meet the desired quality standards.
The food ingredients company began placing its emphasis on the importance of traceability in 2003, when Joe Emling was appointed manager of grain quality and traceability, a post that had previously not existed.
Emling told FoodNavigatorUSA.com that since then the company had also put further resources into its growers - though he declined to estimate how much this might be - increasing training sessions and auditing for farmers, for example.
He explained that they decided to go for the SGS certification because: "We wanted to be open with our customers and show that an independent organisation had come in and verified what we are doing".
The traceability goes all the way through from the farmers field to the finished product.
"We occasionally get batchers that are contaminated," admitted Emling, adding that this generally comes about during the transportation of the corn, when for example a lorry has not been cleaned properly and there are still traces left from the last batch of GM corn.
The traceability program comes at a price for National Starch, adding five to 15 percent to the cost of the production of corn, and Emling says that as more GM crops are planted in the US, it will become more difficult and expensive to ensure that there is no contamination.
However, he believes it is necessary to continue to provide a sure supply of non-GM corn because of market demand. It is for this reason also that he does not think that all farmers will decide to plant GM crops even with the higher yields that they are assured.
"We are fully committed to our non-GM position - even though we know it will become more costly to deliver - because our customers are demanding this," said Emling.
A significant percentage of National Starch's customers are companies that specialize in organic or health foods, though some are more mainstream firms.
Last year around 40-45 percent of the corn harvested in the US was GMO.