Questions and answers regarding our non-GMO standards
We source ingredients that are non-GMO. At this time, the United States federal government does not promulgate specific regulations regarding the labeling of non-GMO food. The following FAQs address our standards for determining that the ingredients for the products we sell in the United States are non-GMO. The European Union and many other markets in which our products are distributed have regulations regarding the use of genetically modified products. In those jurisdictions, our products comply with applicable laws.
Q: What do we mean by non-GMO?
A: “GMO” is an acronym for genetically modified organism. We are using the term GMO or genetically modified organism to refer to an organism that has been modified using gene-splicing and other methods used in a laboratory context to introduce new traits or characteristics to the organism in ways that do not occur in nature. (We refer to these methods below as genetic modification consistent with the popular use of the term, though we note that these methods might more precisely be described as genetic engineering.) In this sense, genetic modification is one of a few methods by which the genetic composition of an organism may be modified. Other methods would include natural mutation and traditional cross-breeding methods.
For more information regarding genetically modified organisms, see the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) website: http://www.fda.gov/food/foodscienceresearch/biotechnology/ucm346030.htm.
For more information regarding the standards we use to determine whether ingredients are non-GMO, see our answer to the question below, “How does Martin’s determine whether its product ingredients are non-GMO?”
Q: Are genetically modified foods safe?
We are not aware of any consensus within the scientific community to the effect that foods that include genetically modified ingredients are any more dangerous than their non-GMO counterparts.
Q: Did Martin’s change any of its ingredients to make its products non-GMO?
A: Yes. Most of the key ingredients we use in our products, including wheat flour and wheat gluten, are not commercially available in genetically modified forms. However, certain categories of ingredients that we use do include GMO options (e.g., oil and sugar) or may soon include GMO options (e.g., potato flour).
As part of our commitment to sourcing non-GMO ingredients, we have replaced certain ingredients with ingredients that are not commercially available in genetically modified forms. For example, we have replaced soybean oil and soy lecithin, which are widely available in the US in genetically modified forms, with, respectively, sunflower oil and sunflower lecithin, which are not commercially available in genetically modified forms.
(Sugar may be derived from certain plants, such as sugar beets, that are widely available in the US in genetically modified forms. However, we have long sourced the sugar we use in our products from sugarcane, which is not commercially available in genetically modified forms. Also, while the FDA has recently approved genetically modified potatoes for the first time, we continue to source non-GMO potato flour.)
Q: How does Martin’s determine whether its product ingredients are non-GMO?
A: We require our suppliers to provide statements to us to the effect that the ingredients they are providing us are non-GMO. Moreover, as noted above, most of the key ingredients that we source are not commercially available as GMOs. With respect to certain (but not all) categories of ingredients that do include GMO options (e.g., oil, lecithin and sugar), we source ingredients (sunflower oil, sunflower lecithin, and cane sugar) that are not commercially available as GMOs.
Please note the following important qualifications regarding our definition of non-GMO:
- Our products may contain limited amounts of genetically modified materials as a result of contact with such materials during harvest, production and transportation.
- The yeast and certain additives we use, including ascorbic acid and enzymes, are not genetically modified themselves, but may be produced with the aid of or derived from GMOs in some instances.
- The milk and butter we use is not organic and we generally source these ingredients from US suppliers. In the US, feed for cows that produce non-organic milk and butter typically includes GMO ingredients such as genetically modified corn. The feed, then, fed to the cows that produce our milk and butter undoubtedly contains GMO ingredients. However, the cows themselves are not genetically modified.
We do perform periodic Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) testing on our products to determine the presence of genetically modified ingredients. In such tests, we regard the product as satisfying our non-GMO standard if any genetically modified materials in the product account for less than 0.9% of the total weight of the product. Given the limitations of such tests, however, we primarily rely upon our suppliers’ representations to us and the fact that most of our ingredients are not commercially available as GMOs.
Q: Do any of Martin’s products contain preservatives?
A: Yes. Our products contain calcium propionate, a mold inhibitor.
Q: Do any of Martin’s products contain food additives?
A: Yes. Our products contain food additives that comply with FDA regulations and other applicable laws.
For more information on food additives and preservatives, see the FDA website: http://www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/FoodAdditivesIngredients/ucm091048.htm