Canada-based natural and organic food group SunOpta has confirmed one of its US facilities has become the first manufacturing site in the country to receive Department of Agriculture GMO-free verification.

The company applied to the USDA for verification under its Process Verified Program (PVP), which is overseen by the Agricultural Marketing Service. The site in Hope, Minnesota will now produce PVP-verified non-GE/GMO food-grade soya beans and corn.

SunOpta intends to expand the PVP standards at more facilities. "Becoming the first PVP verified non-GMO food manufacturing facility in the United States is a great honour for SunOpta and consistent with our commitment to non-GMO and organic food products which are in high demand with today's consumers," CEO Steve Bromley said. "Having USDA verify that we are complying with our standards ensures that our customers can be confident that they are getting the highest quality non-GMO soybeans and corn. We look forward to implementing the USDA PVP programme at other SunOpta facilities across our vertically integrated platform."

The USDA's plans to develop a GMO-free verification scheme hit the headlines last week, when Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack revealed the department was working with an unnamed company on GMO-free verification.

The debate over GMO labelling is gaining steam in the US, with various states pushing for mandatory labelling and the food sector largely backing a voluntary approach. For just-food's take on the implications of the USDA's verification move, click here.

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By GlobalData