GMO Disclosure Rule Cleared By OMB

The much-anticipated federal GMO disclosure standard has been cleared by the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), a final step before USDA publishes the rule.

The food and agriculture industries are bracing for the GMO disclosure rule and nervously waiting to find out the details of the regulatory regime, officially known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard.

Confusion remains about the scope and impact of the rule as the 106-page draft plan released by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) in May left many questions about the regulations unanswered.

The AMS draft rule did not fully explain which foods are covered, lacking definitions needed to clarify what is considered a “bioengineered food.” The draft also left key exemptions unexplained and failed to completely outline the disclosure requirements or how companies must comply.

The law says food manufacturers and retailers can satisfy the standard by use of on-package text, a USDA-created symbol or electronic means such as a quick response code, but the draft rule suggested AMS would also allow compliance via text message.

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