My boyfriend Andrew likes to quiz me on ingredient panels on product labels. He will pick up a product, like a box of cereal or a bag of chips, and he will ask me, “Can you guess what the ingredients are?” and then I will study the front of the product for clues that could tell me what might be there. For example, if it’s a gluten-free cereal that is advertising ancient grains, I will answer “Corn meal or maybe corn flour, amaranth, quinoa, flax seeds…” He lets me know what I get right, what I get wrong, and whether or not I’m missing something altogether.
Flavored chips are my favorite test because the seasoning blends can get really complicated and are therefore the most challenging to get right…but I usually get pretty close! So why does Andrew do this? It’s because I spent 4 years verifying thousands of products for the Non-GMO Project’s (NGP) Product Verification Program and I’ve seen so many product formulations presented to me that he finds it vastly entertaining to quiz me, especially when we are going down the grocery store aisles together and I point to a product and say “I verified that!” You can bet that he will grab that item and play the ‘name the ingredients game’ with me. Of course, sometimes I go off on tangents about how difficult a particular type of ingredient is to approve or comment about how that product would have trouble getting verified if it was ever enrolled because the honey is defining and then I lose him … game over!
Whether I can guess what is listed in the ingredient panel, or not, I still feel immense pride in the work I did as a Technical Evaluator for the NGP’s Product Verification Program. Now that I am providing my expertise to companies as a non-GMO certification consultant, I can’t wait to help even more products get NGP-verified and/or certified non-GMO with other programs!