The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) released a proposed rule, officially entitled “National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard,” that would require food manufacturers and other entities that label foods for retail sale to disclose information about food containing bioengineered (BE) ingredients on labels – either on packaging or through a digital link, such as a QR code. The proposed rule is intended to serve as a national standard to provide meaningful and uniform information about BE foods and ingredients.
AMS proposes using the terms “bioengineered food” or “bioengineered food ingredient” rather than “genetically modified” or “genetically engineered”. They also propose that the disclosure be placed on the information panel of food packages because that’s where consumers look for information about their food. Alternatively, companies can use a symbol. AMS designed three symbols that display “BE.” Food companies can weigh in on the symbols.
The proposed rule is open for a 60-day comment period and will not be extended past the July 3, 2018, comment deadline due to a Congressional mandate. The rule is required to be finalized by July 29, 2018. Secretary Perdue has indicated that USDA may not meet this July 2018 deadline.