I’m a designated “outsider looking in” to the organic scene. So, I find myself asking questions that I imagine other curious, not yet verified people are asking. For instance, what the heck is the difference between verified and certified organic anyway? To me, they seem like splitting hairs. Jargon terms that probably mean almost the exact same thing anyway. Why is it that there are two separate terms in the first place?
According to the article “Labels 101: Non-GMO Project Verified & Organic,” there is quite a big difference between the two. There are 6 rules that are used to define the difference between the two labels. “USDA Certified Organic Label” and the “Non-GMO Project Verified Label.”
I’ll number them for easier understanding.
- Prohibits use of chemical/synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.
- Bans antibiotic and synthetic hormone use.
- Regulated by the government.
- Mandatory testing for GMO’s at multiple levels of production.
- Prohibits GMO’s in all aspects of farming and processing.
- Trustworthy method to avoid GMOs.1
Certified food must meet criteria numbers 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6 to apply.
Verified food must meet criteria numbers 4,5, and 6 to apply.
In summary, the main difference between the two is that verified food requires the addition of mandatory testing for GMOs. Not just at one, but multiple levels of production. While this specific rule doesn’t apply to certified food, being verified carries with it three additional criteria. It all boils down to a question of quality versus quantity. But, regardless of which type of food label is stocked on your shelves, either one is closer to a more holistic food choice than neither of the two.
1) “Labels 101: Non-GMO Project Verified & Organic.” Http://gmoinside.org/labels-101-non-gmo-verified-organic/. N.p., n.d. Web.