Under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard act, it will become mandatory for food and beverage companies starting Jan. 1  to state whether food products are BE (bioengineered). Questions arise. Will BE affect non-GMO ingredients and products, including those certified by the Non-GMO Project? What ingredients and products will need to be listed as BE?
Products listed as BE will not qualify for Non-GMO Project verification since the Non-GMO Project has stricter rules. Shoppers are not familiar with the BE term, added Hans Eisenbeis, director of marketing and communications for the Non-GMO Project, Bellevue, Wash.
The new disclosure requirements may be confusing at the consumer level, said Lea Buerman, regional regulatory and scientific affairs leader for Minneapolis-based Cargill.
“It introduces a new term — BE (bioengineered) — that most consumers likely won’t recognize yet and may not associate with GMOs,” she said.
In one difference between the USDA’s BE law and the Non-GMO Project, the BE standard does not address new technology like CRISPR, Mr. Eisenbies said. The Non-GMO Project does. This means a product that is created through CRISPR may not need a BE listing, but the product would not qualify for Non-GMO Project verification.