On June 28, 2017, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA or agency) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted a list of 30 questions for consideration by stakeholders in order to assist the agency in developing a Proposed Rule setting national standards and procedures for the labeling of bioengineered foods (i.e., GMO labeling).
As you may recall, AMS has two years to implement the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards Law which was enacted by Congress on July 29, 2016, and charged the agency with developing a national mandatory system for disclosing the presence of bioengineered material in foods. The law also preempted future and existing state laws attempting to establish GMO labeling requirements for foods containing bioengineered materials. See our previous blog post on the Vermont GMO Law here.
With about a year left to publish a final rule (AMS is mandated to publish a final rule by July 2018), AMS is publishing this list of questions in the hopes that it will use any input to draft the proposed rule. The questions cover an array of topics from the terms that AMS should consider as interchangeable with “bioengineering,” to the text that manufacturers should be required to use when it chooses to use text to disclose a bioengineered food.
AMS is only providing stakeholders until Monday, July 17, 2017 to submit any comments. Comments may be submitted to the following email address: .
Interested parties will also have an opportunity to submit any comments once a proposed rule is published by AMS. We will be closely following this rulemaking, as it may directly impact the compliance deadline for the new Nutrition Facts Label and Serving Size Final Rules published by the Food and Drug Administration in May 2016. FDA recently indefinitely delayed the compliance date for these Final Rules (see our blog post here), and that decision may have been in part in order to avoid having industry update food labels twice within a short period of time.