The USDA and the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) have set forth the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“the Rule”) for labeling food products that have been genetically modified. The Rule requires food companies to disclose information about bioengineered food and food ingredient content by labeling such food as “BE” (bioengineered). According to its summary, the purposes of the Rule are to share information with consumers and to minimize implementation and compliance costs that would otherwise be passed on to consumers.
The USDA is proposing two lists:
- highly adopted bioengineered crops (e.g. canola, field corn, cotton, soybeans and sugar beets); and
- bioengineered crops that are not highly adopted (e.g. non-browning apples, sweet corn, papayas, potatoes and summer squash varieties).
Foods containing highly adopted crops would be required to be labeled as bioengineered. Otherwise, foods containing crops that are not highly adopted would be required to be labeled that they “may be bioengineered” or “may contain bioengineered ingredients.”