National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law Goes Into Effect

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The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law requires the labeling of bioengineered foods, which much of the public knows as GMOs. The law was passed in June of 2016 near the end of the Obama administration and the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on December 20, 2018. The standard gave industry until January 1, 2022 to comply. USDA maintains a list of the most common bioengineered foods. Any other bioengineered foods and future bioengineered foods will also be subject to labeling rules.

The Standard defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature. Foods derived from bioengineered crops that do not contain detectable rDNA are not subject to labeling. The Standard exempts food served in restaurants or similar retail food establishments such as cafeterias, food trucks, or lunch rooms.

Companies have  several options available for disclosure, including text, symbol (see above), electronic or digital link (such as QR codes), and/or text message. USDA has a tool to help companies determine if their product is subject to the labeling requirement.

Additional information: BE rule making documents