USDA Releases GMO Labeling Rules

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released the final federal GMO labeling rule. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard requires food manufacturers, importers and certain retailers to label foods containing genetically modified or bioengineered ingredients.

To make the required disclosure, food producers have four options: text on the label; a symbol; an electronic or digital link that would take consumers to a website explaining the ingredients; or a text message sent to consumers’ mobile phone or similar device.

Implementation of the standard begins Jan. 1, 2020, or Jan. 1, 2021, for small food manufacturers. The mandatory compliance date is Jan. 1, 2022. Regulated entities may voluntarily comply with the standard until Dec. 31, 2021.

Certain products made from the 13 bioengineered crops and foods on the U.S.D.A.’s list do not require labeling. The list of bioengineered foods are alfalfa, canola, corn, cotton, potato, salmon (AquAdvantage), soybean, squash, sugarbeet and certain varieties of apple, eggplant, papaya and pineapple.

The final rule was published in the Federal Register on Dec. 21.  USDA will provide outreach and education to inform regulated entities and the public about the new disclosure terms.

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