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How We Define “Non-GMO” Sourced

At Hellmann’s®, we recognize that some people have questions about food ingredients made from genetically engineered agricultural crops, also referred to as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). We also recognize that some people have a preference for foods made to specific production standards that do not use ingredients produced from GMO crops. In an effort to better meet these consumers’ preferences, Hellmann’s offers Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread and Hellmann’s with Olive Oil Mayonnaise Dressing with “Non-GMO Sourced” Ingredients.  This claim applies to the Hellmann’s with Olive Oil Mayonnaise Dressing available in jars, but not the Hellmann’s with Olive Oil Mayonnaise Dressing in our squeeze bottle.  Hellmann’s Organic Mayonnaise does not use GMOs as it is produced and certified in accordance with the USDA National Organic Program which does not allow GMOs.

 

Background 

In the United States, we rely on American farmers to produce most of the agricultural raw materials used to make our products. US farmers widely use GMO seeds to produce five major agricultural crops that are commonly used for food ingredients: corn, soy, canola, cottonseed and sugar. Therefore if a US food product contains ingredients that come from one or more of those five agricultural crops and is not labeled organic or labeled with information on non-GMO sourcing, it is likely to have ingredients from GMO crops. GMO crops and ingredients from these crops have been safely used for more than 20 years. The regulatory agencies and leading scientific bodies that study the safety of our food supply have found that these GMO crops and food ingredients from these crops are as safe as their traditional counterparts.  At the same time, according to many experts, these crops could play an important role in helping meet the long-term food needs of the world in a more sustainable way. 

 

Our Definitions

When we refer to "Non-GMO," we are using terms as most widely used and understood in the US, though there are varying definitions. As such, a genetically modified organism (GMO) is an organism in which the genetic material has been altered in a way that does not occur through traditional cross-breeding methods in order to introduce new traits or characteristics."Non-GMO by Origin" refers to non-GMO according to the original crop source. This would include a crop that either is not commercially available as a GMO crop in the US or, if the option is available, is the non-GMO version of such crop. Traceability to the original non-GMO crop source is the key to our ingredient sourcing standard. 

 

Our "Non-GMO" Standards

Hellmann’s adheres to sourcing "Non-GMO by Origin" ingredients for use in Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread and Hellmann’s with Olive Oil Mayonnaise Dressing. This means we rely primarily on traceability of ingredients through the supply chain back to a non-GMO crop, rather than relying on specific test methods such as PCR testing1on the ingredients we procure.Our suppliers for Hellmann’s Carefully Crafted Dressing & Sandwich Spread and Hellmann’s with Olive Oil Mayonnaise Dressing adhere to the following guidelines to ensure the ingredients they provide to us are "Non-GMO by Origin":

 

● Suppliers must use "Non-GMO by Origin" ingredients in the manufacture of items they supply.

● For any plant-based raw material derived from sugar beets, corn, soy, canola, or other crop that is commercially available in GMO varieties, suppliers must source "Non-GMO by Origin" materials.  To date, there are no commercially grown GMO varieties of olive crops; therefore, olive oil is “Non-GMO by Origin” as no GMO option exists in the marketplace.

● Suppliers that also handle GMO raw materials or finished products in their production facilities must take appropriate measures to minimize cross-contact between GMO and non-GMO materials.  These measures may include proper cleaning, flushing and segregation.

● Suppliers will be audited for "Non-GMO by Origin" traceability and production measures as part of our routine non-GMO ingredient audit procedures. Supportive documentation review, site visits, and PCR testing for verification at any point in the supply chain, allmay be part of the audit protocol. Suppliers must provide documentation and confirmation that materials are "Non-GMO by Origin."

● Our Non-GMO by Origin guidelines for suppliers do not apply to processing aids or ingredients that can be produced with the help of genetically modified organisms in fermentation processes, such as enzymes and vitamins.  The appropriateness of using such processing aids and ingredients is evaluated by Hellmann’s on a case-by-case basis.

● The cage-free hens that lay the eggs that we use in our products may consume animal feed produced from GMO crops, which is common practice in the US. In line with regulations in most countries with GMO labeling requirements, including the European Union, our Non-GMO by Origin guidelines for suppliers do not apply to animal feed.Recipes (link to recipes landing page)

 

1PCR testing refers to the Polymerase Chain Reaction test that can be used to detect genetic material (DNA) in a sample.  Highly refined ingredients, such as vegetable oils, generally test “PCR negative,” which refers to the absence (i.e. below the limit of detection) of a DNA target sequence. Therefore, a “PCR negative” test result alone is not an effective standard for verifying the sourcing of non-GMO ingredients.