SAN DIEGO – Quality Assurance International (QAI) has launched a certification mark to help consumers understand that products certified organic by the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) also must be free of genetically modified organisms/bioengineered ingredients.

San Diego-based QAI, a provider of organic certification services, conducted a study that found 80 percent of respondents were unaware that products with the USDA organic seal were also non-GMO.

“What many consumers don’t realize is that the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) is strictly prohibited in organic products,” said Tracy Favre, director of QAI. “By introducing QAI’s new organic certification mark, we hope consumers can more easily identify organic products as also being non-GMO and begin to understand the full value of the USDA organic certification.”

Manufacturers of products certified by QAI may choose to use the original QAI mark or the new mark linking organics to non-GMO.

“The optional mark is available for immediate use by new and existing customers,” Favre said. “We expect to begin seeing it on organic certified products as early as this summer.”