U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on December 20, 2018. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, passed by Congress in July of 2016, directed USDA to establish this national mandatory standard for disclosing foods that are or may be bioengineered.
The Standard defines bioengineered foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding or found in nature.
The implementation date of the Standard is January 1, 2020, except for small food manufacturers, whose implementation date is January 1, 2021. The mandatory compliance date is January 1, 2022. Regulated entities may voluntarily comply with the Standard until December 31, 2021.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) developed the List of Bioengineered Foods to identify the crops or foods that are available in a bioengineered form throughout the world and for which regulated entities must maintain records. These records will inform regulated entities about whether they must make a bioengineered food disclosure.
The Standard requires food manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers to ensure bioengineered foods are appropriately disclosed. Regulated entities have several disclosure options: text, symbol, electronic or digital link, and/or text message. Additional options such as a phone number or web address are available to small food manufacturers or for small and very small packages.