Free from GMOs

Free from GMOs The GMO-Free Movement is a public initiative

Free from GMOs

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The GMO-Free Movement is a public initiative that brings together farmers, food producers, traders, caterers, nurseries, schools and consumers who do not grow, market or use genetically modified organisms.

We believe that everyone has the right to choose whether or not to use genetically modified products.

Our aim is to create a network of GMO-free producers, traders and caterers so that consumers who want to avoid GM food in their diets have a recognisable and trustworthy place to shop and eat.

Members of the movement can be identified by the “GMO-Free” sticker on the entrance door, which means that the company or establishment does not sell or use labelled genetically modified products.

The Free from GMO movement and its trademark have been launched because the Latvian public has unequivocally rejected the cultivation and use of genetically modified (GM) crops for food, given both the devastating environmental impact of GM cultivation and the poorly tested long-term effects on human health. According to opinion polls, more than 80 percent of the Latvian population is of this opinion.

Therefore, Latvian Friends of the Earth, learning from similar initiatives already operating in a number of European and world countries, have launched the GMO-Free initiative with the aim to facilitate consumer choice, provide additional visibility to those businesses that do not use GMOs, as well as to promote discussions on the development of stricter and more reasonable legislative norms regulating the movement of GMOs.

The Ministry of the Environment, the Latvian Organic Farming Association and the Latvian Hotel and Restaurant Association have already joined the movement as partners.

Movement objectives:

  • to create a network of GMO-free farms, businesses, institutions, organisations and bodies so that consumers who want to avoid GM food in their diets have reliable places to shop and eat
  • to provide consumers with a choice that is easily recognisable and usable
  • Promote the availability of alternatives to GMOs, GMO-free products and their producers

Participants in the movement can be:

  • food and commercial outlets (shops, online stores, markets, etc.)
  • catering establishments (cafés, restaurants, bars, canteens)
  • food producers (including farms)
  • hotels and guest houses
  • kindergartens and schools

Benefits for Movement participants:

  • the right to use the GMO-Free label without restrictions on the company’s activities
  • inclusion in the catalogue of outlets and catering establishments and on the GMO-free map on the website
  • participation in the GMO-Free network of traders, caterers, food producers, organisations and institutions
  • joint marketing and promotion activities
  • information on news and developments on GMOs

What does the GMO Free sign mean?

A GMO-Free sticker on the front door means that a company or institution has joined the GMO-Free movement and committed not to grow, produce, market and/or cook with labelled genetically modified foods. In the EU, it is compulsory to label foods produced from genetically modified plants if the product contains more than 0.9% GMOs.

How the “GMO-Free” status is granted:

To obtain GMO-free status, the applicant must:

  • be familiar with the obligations of the participants;
  • review their food purchases, groceries, etc. and, if they do, remove foods labelled as containing GMOs or made from GMO raw materials;
  • fill in the application form;
  • sign the contract

The applicant shall submit to the LVRA in person, by post or electronically a completed application form (see Annex), indicating:

  • the legal name of the company;
  • the company registration number;
  • legal and business address(es);
  • the actual name and address(es) of the entity(ies) to be assessed;
  • opening times for the sites to be inspected;
  • PVD certificate number;
  • the person(s) responsible for the department(s) (name, title, address, telephone number, e-mail address);
  • Annex 1 – basic information on suppliers by product group and a self-assessment questionnaire (see Annex).

An applicant may apply for a GMO-free certificate and sticker for more than one unit.

The LVRA representative shall examine the applicant’s application within 10 working days of receipt and shall check the applicant’s eligibility for GMO-free status. If the applicant meets all the requirements for GMO Free status, it shall be awarded a contract. The contract shall be renewed annually. If no infringements are found during the annual inspection, the contract is automatically renewed.

The process of granting GMO-Free status includes training of responsible persons of applicants and participants. The LVRA provides training courses for the responsible persons of GMO Free participants. The responsible person of a GMO-free participant receives a certificate of completion issued by the LVRA upon completion of the training course.

The applicant shall carry out a self-assessment by completing an assessment questionnaire drawn up by the LVRA, consisting of the product groups and subgroups to be examined, and submit it to the person responsible for the LVRA.

Within 10 working days of receipt of the questionnaire, the person in charge of the LVRA shall collect all the necessary documents, carry out an initial assessment, request missing documents if necessary and hand over the documents for assessment and decision-making to a member of the Survey Committee – an expert who shall carry out the assessment procedures in accordance with this document.

A member of the inspection committee, the expert, shall examine the documents received and the self-assessment questionnaire and carry out an on-site visit of the applicant’s undertaking and/or department.

An initial survey is organised for all applicants applying for GMO-free status.

An annual survey shall be organised each year during the lifetime of the certificate in accordance with a schedule set by the LVRA representative.

An emergency inspection is organised when the LVRA receives complaints about non-compliance of a member’s services with the requirements for GMO-free status.

After the survey, the expert member of the Survey Committee prepares a report and takes a reasoned decision on the granting or refusal of the GMO-free status and sends it to the person in charge of the LVRA.

The responsible person of the LVRA shall, on the basis of the results of the visit of the expert member of the Screening Committee, inform the GMO-Free Secretariat and the applicant of the decision of the expert member of the Screening Committee, which shall be delivered in person.

The certificate of GMO-free status is given a unique number.

Upon receipt of a certificate of GMO Free status, the holder is entitled to use the GMO Free sticker and/or the GMO Free logo kit.

The GMO-free certificate is issued for an indefinite period, subject to annual monitoring in the form of self-monitoring of the establishments or their departments, as well as random surveys of at least 30% of the certificate holders.

The Participant’s right to use the Certificate shall terminate:

  • if the member has ceased to carry on a trade or business;
  • if the company’s members or shareholders change;
  • obstacles are placed in the way of the survey;
  • if the survey reveals a breach of contract and the contract is not automatically extended.

Where can I find information about “GMO Free”?

Information on the procedure for awarding the “Free from GMOs” label and on the “Free from GMOs” scheme participants and quality label holders can be found on the LVRA website www.hotels-restaurants.lv and on the “Friends of the Earth” website www.brivsnogmo.lv

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