Speaking to FoodNavigator.com, Richard Werran, MD of Cert IT, the certifying body that developed the non-GMO standard, said the aim of the ProTerra Foundation, which was established only six weeks ago, is to give the agricultural and food industries “the tools they need to achieve best practice in terms of sustainability performance.”
The ProTerra Standard emerged from the Basel Criteria, a document developed cooperatively by the retailer COOP-Switzerland, the World Wildlife Fund, and other industry and public interest groups.
Cert ID maintains that since 2006, ProTerra has delivered up to 4.8 million tonnes per year, around 13 per cent of EU consumption – of traceable and verified socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and non-GM soy.
“The 5m tonnes mark was the critical mass required to signal to Cert ID that it was time the standard migrated from a private company to a foundation with the central premise behind the setting up of the new organisation being that it would allow other certifying bodies to take up licensees for the ProTerra standard and thus widen global access to the mark,” explained Werran.
He added that a new ProTerra logo has been developed for the retail end to help shoppers identify on-pack brands that are produced without GMOs. “Summer 2012 will see a major European food brand to be the first to carry the new trustmark.”
Werran notes that demand for foods produced from non-GMO sources is particularly strong in markets such as Germany, France, Switzerland and Scandinavia.
He claims the strength of ProTerra Certification helps mitigate brands’ exposure and liability related to GMOs and the full range of social and environmental issues.
“ProTerra also provides the technical basis upon which companies can make strong non-GMO and ethical claims,” continued the Cert IT MD.
“It is not just about non-GM soy either,” stressed Warren, claiming that there is huge interest now in sourcing a range of produce such as hazelnuts sustainability.
The ProTerra Foundation argues that the growth in genetically modified crops is not only a risk to food safety and food security, but causes a devastating impact on the welfare and lives of farmers and rural communities in countries such as Brazil and Argentina.