Organic Consumers Association

Take Action to Keep GMOs Out of Organic!

When the DARK Act became law this summer, GMO labeling wasn’t the only victim. Language included in the  DARK Act could also kill efforts to keep genetically modified organisms (GMOs) out of organic.

TAKE ACTION BEFORE NOV. 15: Sign this petition telling the National Organic Standards Board to keep genetically modified organisms out of certified 'USDA organic' food.

The National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) plays a key role in protecting the integrity of organics by keeping genetic modification out of organic. But that task is increasingly challenging as complex new genetic engineering techniques, some of which are referred to as GMO 2.0, come online.

Since 2013, the NOSB has been working on a proposal to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Organic Program (NOP) to keep newer techniques of genetic modification, like cloning, nanotechnology, synthetic biology and mutated microorganisms, out of organic.

The DARK Act could undo these efforts.

The DARK Act, officially referred to as National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, directs the Agriculture Secretary to “consider establishing consistency between the national bioengineered food disclosure standard established under this section and the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 and any rules or regulations implementing that Act.”

Written largey by, and for, corporations, the so-called National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard defines GMOs so narrowly that it would cover few if any of the GMOs commonly used to produce food today—let alone the latest techniques of genetic modification. “Establishing consistency” between the DARK Act and the organic laws could open the floodgates for GMOs to be allowed in organics.

The DARK Act provision that would allow GMOs in organic didn’t come from Monsanto alone. The effort was coordinated by none other than the Organic Trade Association (OTA). How do we know that? OTA board member Melody Meyer (who represents UNFI, the largest U.S. distributor of natural and organic products) said as much, in a blog post where argued that gene editing should be allowed in organic.

TAKE ACTION BEFORE NOV. 15: Sign this petition telling the National Organic Standards Board to keep genetically modified organisms out of certified 'USDA organic' food.


When the NOSB meets in St. Louis, November 16-18, it will consider a proposal to the National Organic Program (NOP) that would direct the NOP to give certifiers guidance on how to identify the genetic modification techniques that are known as “excluded methods” under the organic regulations.

The recommendation and, later, the NOP guidance, would clarify for certifiers how to interpret the excluded methods definition. Over the years, organic certifiers have pointed out ways in which the excluded methods definition is open to interpretation. Now, with so many new GMO technologies in the mix, organic certifiers have even more questions.

As a result, the NOSB is taking another look at the “excluded methods” definition and suggesting guidance to protect organics from the slew of new GMO technologies that don’t belong in organic.

The current definition of “excluded methods” was written in 1995, before any genetically engineered crops had hit the market (only Monsanto’s rBGH had been approved), and before scientists created the first cloned mammal, Dolly the sheep. The use of nanotechnology or synthetic biology in food production was still science fiction.

Advances in genetic engineering move quickly. It’s not just crops that can be modified. A whole range of processed food ingredients are now commonly genetically engineered, including vitamins, enzymes, microorganisms and cultures.

In the U.S., no one safety tests or even catalogues these GMO ingredients, which makes it difficult for organic regulators to know what’s out there or even what to look for. There have been questions as to how well organic inspectors and certifiers are able to enforce the “excluded methods” rule in such a rapidly changing landscape.

Are certifiers getting enough guidance from the NOP to keep the latest Frankenfoods out of organic?

The NOSB wants to know. At its next meeting, the Board will consider an “Excluded Methods Terminology” proposal.

The public is invited to comment. Please sign the following petition and add your own thoughts.

1-25 of 36456 signatures
Number Date Name Location Comments (optional)
36456 8 hours ago Jen Davis , US
36455 1 day ago Jean Kunzle , US
36454 2 days ago Anonymous , US Organic should be pure!!! Our choice, only dictators remove choice. Freedom allows choice, save our freedom.
36453 3 days ago Timothy Williams , US
36452 1 week ago Richard Pecha , US
36451 1 week ago Anonymous , US
36450 1 week ago angles Calvin , US
36449 1 week ago Anonymous , US
36448 3 weeks ago Karen Taylor , US
36447 4 weeks ago Anonymous , US
36446 4 weeks ago Robert Kaplan , US
36445 4 weeks ago Cyndie Kalina , US Dropping UNFI! Rats! I am a commercial buyer. I am working to drop all products I buy from UNFI or find alternate sources. NO GMO's in organic!! Cooperate sell out!
36444 4 weeks ago Brian Cornett , US
36443 1 month ago Sandy Poolin , US
36442 1 month ago Valerie Gustafson , US
36441 1 month ago Vivian Reiser , US We have to boycott all their products. They are making babies deformed, brain damaged and worse
36440 1 month ago Liz Whitney , US
36439 1 month ago Wendy Li , US
36438 1 month ago Janice Montgomery , US
36437 1 month ago Lorrie McKeage , US I want to help stop GMO! We need labels! I have been watching the news on gmo's and it's horrible! I watched the movie Consumed and I want to help every way I can.

Thank you,

36436 1 month ago Rebecca Clark , US GMO's should not have anything to do with organics. Please leave something safe for the American people to eat.
36435 1 month ago Margaret Claypool , US
36434 1 month ago Anonymous ,
36433 1 month ago JACi ANSON , US This is a travesty! GMO foods cannot be included in Organic food. Organics are pure and not tainted with modifications. Will greed take over everything in our lives?
36432 1 month ago Shainee Elcock , US The people have spoken, LISTEN!
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