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Certification

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Research several certifications for an industry you are familiar with. Compare two certifications in the same industry. Which do you think is the stronger, or more effective, and why? Write a short analysis of your findings.
For additional details, please refer to the Short Paper/Case Study Rubric document in the Assignment Guidelines and Rubrics section of the course.

Food, the one thing all human beings can agree upon its necessity for our survival. Ever walked into a grocery store and gotten a headache from the bombardment of food certifications. USDA Organic, Certified Humane Raised & Handled, Natural, Fair Trade Certified, Non-GMO Project Verified, and Food Alliance are just a few of the dizzying array of food certifications circling around. The simple truth only two of the multitudes of certifications around should warrant your attention. Some will contend that Fair Trade has its merits, really? The Fair Trade association developed from the need to offer protection and security for coffee farmers. Fair Trade exists to provide premiums to farmers to ensure the farmers gets a standardized price and were not exploited for labor. Sounds fair right? Fair Trade lacks any governmental branch, its criteria is created from within its own walls. Where does the money really go? To the laborers? Better farming conditions? Or in someone’s bank account? There is unfortunately no way to trace the funds making Fair Trade hard to trust and impossible to verify. This leaves only USDA organic and Non-GMO Project Verified as the real top two contenders each with their own subtle flaws. Unlike every other certification USDA Organic is regulated by U.S. Department of Agriculture (Hence the name USDA) and verified by a third party. In order for food to bare the USDA Organic label a strict set of qualifications must be adhered/followed this certification process encompasses every aspect of the process. In order to be USDA Organic foods must be produced without synthetic pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers; sewage sludge is forbidden; seeds and food cannot be treated with irradiation and GMO seeds can’t be used. Organic foods are better for the environment consuming only 70% standard energy requirements. In order to understand the Non-GMO Project Verified we need to have at the very least basic understanding of a genetically modified organism (GMO). A GMO is/are a living organism whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a lab. So it’s safe to reason a Non-GMO is an organism devoid of artificial manipulation to its genetic makeup. They can’t be that bad, can they? Well most developed countries seem to think GMO’s are bad. In fact 60 countries including Japan, Australia, China, and all the countries that make up the European Union outright ban or heavily restrict GMO usage. The Non-GMO Project Verified seal means a product has passed a non-governmental process that was established by the Non-GMO standards. The seal lets consumers know that the product was produced following rigorous standards for GMO avoidance including continual testing of all ingredients, traceability and documentation for all products, and if products contain more than 0.9% GMO they lose the seal of approval. In case you missed it Non-GMO is in no way supported by the USDA. So next time you’re driving yourself crazy trying to figure out what’s the healthiest, environment supporting, and ultimately the most sustainable food choice. Grab the USDA Organic.

References
Levine, A. (2013, October 24). The Difference Between USDA Organic and Non-GMO Verified Seal. Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://blog.bostonorganics.com/wordpress/2013/10/24/avoid-gmos-the-difference-between-organic-and-non-gmo-labels

Organic Agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://www.usda.gov/wps/portal/usda/usdahome?contentid=organic-agriculture.html

The Non-GMO Project. (n.d.). Retrieved February 01, 2016, from http://www.nongmoproject.org/

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