Delays at USDA could jeopardize timely roll out of new federal GMO food disclosure rules (subscription to Food Chemical News required)

  • As previously discussed on this blog, a new federal law requiring labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients was signed into law on July 29, 2016.  This law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods by July 2018.  Under the new law, food companies would have three options to disclose GMO ingredients: the use of on-package text, a USDA-created symbol, or an internet link — i.e., a QR code printed on the package that directs customers to GMO information.  To support the development of the regulations and standards required by the new law, USDA is slated to conduct a study to identify potential technological challenges that might impact whether consumers would be able to rely on electronic or digital links on food packages.
  • A recent news report indicates that USDA has secured funds to conduct the required study and has made progress on drafting an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to support the implementation of the new federal GMO food disclosure requirements, but has encountered some delays as the Agency awaits direction from Trump administration officials – particularly with the USDA Secretary pick not yet confirmed.
  • We will continue to keep you apprised of the latest developments regarding USDA’s implementation efforts in connection with this new federal GMO labeling law.