Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mastronardi to add non-GMO seal to packaging

by Ashley Bentley
KINGSVILLE, Ontario — Mastronardi Produce plans to start using a seal on its packaging later this year that identifies its products as non-genetically modified organisms.

Although GMO use in greenhouse vegetable growing is not commonplace, consumers don’t necessarily understand which products come from genetically-modified seeds and “want to know black and white that our products are non-GMO,” said Joseph Darden, vice president of food safety for Mastronardi.

“It wasn’t retail-driven — just a response to the consumer questions from our Web site,” said Chris Veillon, director of marketing. “People don’t know how you can produce the same tomato time and time again.”

The answer comes down to the greenhouse growing method, Paul Mastronardi said.

“It’s a closed environment, no outside elements, that allows us to produce great-looking fruit with reliable production, all with the safest food safety program,” Mastronardi said.

Mastronardi identifies itself as the first in the industry to be certified by the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit group of manufacturers, retailers, processors, distributors, farmers, seed companies and consumers set to make information about GMO products more accessible, according to its site.

Of the eight fruit and vegetable companies in the program, Mastronardi is the only one with fresh produce.

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