Dec. 9, 2015 - USDA is overhauling its Process Verified Program (PVP) with an eye to handling a flood of requests for
certifying non-GMO food labels. The Agricultural Marketing Service is
consolidating PVP into a single administrative structure to ensure that the
management and implementation is consistent across all commodities.
deputy administrator of the Agricultural Marketing Service, says the overhaul
is being done in part because of a “whole host” of requests for verification of
non-GMO labeling and because Congress is considering legislation that would
require AMS to set standards for non-GMO products.
AMS has been
administering PVP through its existing commodity-based division structure, and
the different divisions have had different procedures, employees and even fee
structures for handling PVP petitions, Morris said. Beef and pork, for example,
are handled by a different division than poultry or fruits and vegetables.
“It would be unrealistic for a consumers to look at the exact same (PVP)
shield and not expect that company went through the exact same process” for each product, Morris tells Agri-Pulse.
a non-GMO corn and soybean supplier, earlier this year became the first company
to receive PVP verification for a non-GMO product. AMS is getting petitions for
non-GMO verification on a number of other commodities, including canned
produce, soy milk, and a processing aid for yogurt. AMS also has been asked to
verify antibiotic usage practices across a range of products that cross its
traditional divisional lines, Morris said.
As part of the
overhaul, AMS also will be requiring companies to clearly define, in layman’s
terms, all of the marketing claims and verified processes that USDA is
certifying. The information will be posted on the USDA website.
In a new blog post aimed at explaining the PVP process to consumers,
Morris says USDA is “committed to the transparency and accountability of our
auditing services, so that consumers and buyers can make informed decisions
about the products they purchase.”
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