5 things to know about USDA bioengineered food labels, hitting stores in 2020

One of the USDA-approved labels for 'bioengineered' food. Credit: USDA

In July 2016, President Obama signed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law (NBFDL), requiring food manufacturers to disclose the presence of bioengineered foods and ingredients. That law required the U.S. Department of Agriculture to finalize regulations for the law’s implementation by its two-year anniversary….USDA issued the final rule on December 21, 2018. This article identifies some of the important issues raised in the public comments on the proposed rule, and describes USDA’s final decisions on those issues.

What Term to Use—Bioengineered, Genetically Engineered, Genetically Modified, and/or GMO?

What term should be used to describe a product or ingredient that was produced from a bioengineered organism? In the NBFDL, Congress used “bioengineered,” but gave the USDA the discretion to allow other “similar” terms. In its proposed rule, the USDA stated that it considered alternative phrases, but tentatively decided only to allow “bioengineered.”

Related article:  'Substantial equivalence': Are GMOs as safe as other conventional and organic foods?

 Whether to Disclose Highly Refined Ingredients and Products

Probably the most controversial issue in the rulemaking process was whether highly refined ingredients should require disclosure. Highly refined ingredients produced from an engineered crop, such as sugar or corn oil, do not contain any bioengineered material (i.e., DNA or protein)….

Read full, original article: Biotech Blog: The Final National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

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