Genetic testing lab to help U.S. food industry segregate non-GMO products

by Teresa Acklin
Share This:

With the growing demand for non-genetically modified (GMO) food products in Europe and Japan, and increasingly in the United States, a growing number of American farmers, food processors and manufacturers are beginning to segregate non-GMO products.

Genetic ID, a genetic testing laboratory based in Fairfield, has created a program that guarantees the non-GMO status of products for every aspect of the food industry. The company's non-GMO certification program, CERT ID, provides third-party, independent verification that the food producer's production system is designed and operated to standards that effectively exclude GMOs. Genetic ID also assumes the liability for the non-GMO claims.

John Fagan, a molecular biologist and the founder of Genetic ID, spent 17 years as a researcher for the U.S. National Institute of Health studying DNA through the tools of genetic engineering. In the summer of 1996, after a trip to Europe during which people were being told that no scientific test could distinguish GMO crops from conventional ones, Mr. Fagan developed a DNA-based test that could detect the presence of GMOs in food and founded his own laboratory.

Unlike protein-based GMO tests, Genetic ID's proprietary PCR technology is precisely quantitative, can detect all GMOs present in the marketplace and is 100-fold more sensitive, Mr. Fagan said.

The test "has had a significant impact on the direction of the entire GMO issue," he said.

"The appearance of effective GMO testing changed the direction of debate in the European Union," Mr. Fagan said. "Once governments knew that they could indeed measure the amount of GMOs in food, they were enabled to develop systematic regulations. The European Union was the first to issue regulations stipulating that food containing GMOs must be labeled, and Australia, New Zealand and Japan have announced similar rules."

Genetic ID now has offices or licensed labs in the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia and serves many clients in South America.

The company can be reached by phone at 515-472-9979, or by e-mail at