What does Bioengineered mean?
Bioengineering broadly means the application of engineering principles to the field of biology. In agriculture, it involves improving plants and animals with recombinant DNA, also known as genetic engineering, biotechnology, transgenic organisms, and more commonly, genetically modified organisms or GMOs. Foods made with this process are considered Bioengineered.
Why will foods be labeled as Bioengineered?
In July of 2016, the US Congress passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard law, which directed the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to create a mandatory bioengineered food labeling standard to disclose these ingredients. On December 20, 2018, AMS published the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard final rule.
There are 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 packages.
What foods will be labeled as Bioengineered?
AMS drafted the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard to balance the benefits of public information with the costs to producers for complying with the law, which would be passed onto consumers. As such, foods that contain ingredients from commodity crops (corn, soy, canola, etc) that are bioengineered will tend to be labeled, however there are exceptions for foods that are highly refined (and have no detectable DNA), are made by small producers, or primarily consist of animal products.
The USDA has a list of bioengineered foods and a fact sheet for industry. Biology Fortified published an explanation of how these rules work.
When will such foods be labeled?
The Bioengineered disclosure standard must be implemented by January 1, 2020, or January 1, 2021 for small manufacturers. The mandatory deadline for all foods is January 1, 2022. Until then, disclosure is voluntary to allow manufacturers time to change their labels. You may see these labels begin to appear soon.
Bioengineered Label News and Analysis
Below is a selection of Bioengineered Label-related news, analysis, and reactions. Biofortified is collecting these links to track reception of this new standard and to share a variety of viewpoints on these issues. Very brief articles or articles that are simply a regurgitation of a press release are not included. Contact us to recommend additional links.
- USDA establishes Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – AgDaily, 20 Dec 2018. Initial reporting and summary.
- USDA Releases Biotech Food Rule: Consumers Will See Labels, Logos, QR Codes or Other Means for Identifying Bioengineered Foods – Chris Clayton, DTN The Progressive Farmer, 20 Dec 2018.
- USDA Releases Final Rule for BE Food Disclosure – Taylor Fritsch, Emily Lyons, Seth Mailhot, and Leah Hurtgen Ziemba of Michael Best & Friedrich LLP Law Firm, Lexology, 20 Dec 2018. Specific legal analysis of how the regulations will work.
- Support mixed for bioengineered food labeling rule – Jacqui Fatka, Feedstuffs, 20 Dec 2018. Includes quotes from industry stakeholders and nonprofit watchdogs.
- Federal Bioengineered Food Disclosure Established, Papaya Listed – Big Island Video News, 20 Dec 2018. Includes specific discussion of how genetically engineered virus resistant papaya will be affected by new labeling requirements.
- National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Final Rule Released – Food and Drug Law at Keller and Heckman Law Firm, National Law Review, 20 Dec 2018. Brief analysis, notes that full analysis is forthcoming.
- USDA releases final GMO labeling rules – Joan Conrow, Cornell Alliance for Science, 20 Dec 2018.
- U.S.D.A. announces G.M.O. labeling standard – Ron Sterk, Food Business News, 20 Dec 2018.
- Final USDA Rule on Labeling Bioengineered Foods May Lead to Consumer Confusion, Says CSPI – Greg Jaffe, Center for Science in the Public Interest, 20 Dec 2018.
- Final GMO labeling rule does not require labeling of highly refined ingredients from GM crops, if no modified genetic material is detectable – Elaine Watson, Food Navigator, 20 Dec 2018. Discusses issue of “non-GMO” labeling at the end of the article.
- USDA Releases Final GMO Labeling Standard – Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch, 20 Dec 2018.
- USDA Releases Final GMO Label Disclosure Specifics – Karlene Lukovitz, Marketing Daily, 20 Dec 2018.
- Groups offer reaction to bioengineered labeling standard – FarmProgress/Wallaces Farmer, 20 Dec 2018. Farm groups united in their support for the new rules, but others charge the standard could confuse consumers.
- Here’s a first look at the label that must appear on all GMO foods by 2022 – Sam Bloch, New Food Economy, 20 Dec 2018. Safety, confusion, and exclusions.
- USDA decides no mandatory GMO labeling for beet sugar, HFCS – McKeany-Flavell, 20 Dec 2018.
- USDA Announces New GMO Rule – Erin Cabrey, NOSH, 20 Dec 2018.
- First Look at the Bioengineered Label Final Rule – Mary Mangan, Biology Fortified, 21 Dec 2018. Initial reactions, screenshots and references to key page numbers.
- Bioengineered Label – Consumer Impacts – Anastasia Bodnar, Biology Fortified, 21 Dec 2018. Summarizes what is and is not required to be labeled, and discusses costs to consumers.
- Here’s How Foods Made With Genetically Modified Ingredients Will Be Labeled From Now On – Ed Cara, Gizmodo, 21 Dec 2018. Discusses the need to consumer education to accompany the standard.
- To BE or Not to BE? USDA Finalizes Rule Establishing National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – Ann Begley, Robert Hibbert, and Amaru Sanchez of Morgan Lewis Law Firm, 21 Dec 2018.
- USDA’s AMS Issues Final Rule on National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – Veronica Colas and Martin Hahn of Hogan Lovells Law Firm, JDSupra, 21 Dec 2018. Specific legal analysis of how the regulations will work.
- A new rule requires GMO products to be labeled by 2022, and some food companies are rejoicing – Aria Bendix, Business Insider, 21 Dec 2018.
- New labeling rule paves way for GM salmon to enter US market – Christine Blank, Seafood Source, 21 Dec 2018.
- USDA issues final GMO-labeling guidelines for food – Cathy Siegner, Food Dive, 21 Dec 2018.
- USDA’s standard for bioengineered food draws criticism, praise – Josh Long, Natural Products Insider, 21 Dec 2018.
- Even major food companies hate the new US rules for GMO food labeling – Chase Purdy, Quartz, 21 Dec 2018.
- Maine Rep Says New GMO Labels Aren’t Consumer Friendly – Patrick Whittle, Associated Press via Manufacturing.net, 26 Dec 2018.
- USDA’s new rule reduces transparency in labeling foods as bioengineered – Larry Meyer, Argus Observer, 26 Dec 2018.
- New Useless and Costly USDA Bioengineered Food Disclosure Regulations Issued – Ronald Bailey, Reason, 27 Dec 2018.
- New GMO label rules don’t use the term GMO – Robin Shreeves, Mother Nature News, 28 Dec 2018.
- USDA AMS National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard Final Rule – Keller and Heckman Law Firm, National Law Review, 28 Dec 2018. Full legal analysis of the regulation.
- The USDA’s Final Rule for GMO Labeling Stinks – Baylen Linnekin, Reason, 29 Dec 2018.
Bioengineered Label Press Releases
- AquaBounty Technologies, Inc.: Issuance of USDA labeling rule – Dave Conley, AquaBounty Technologies, Inc., 20 Dec 2018.
- The Sustainable Food Policy Alliance Responds to USDA’s National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – Sustainable Food Policy Alliance (founding members are Danone North America, Mars, Incorporated, Nestlé USA, and Unilever United States), 20 Dec 2018. “We remain concerned, however, that the standards fall short of consumer expectations, and the practices of leading food companies, particularly when it comes to how we are already disclosing highly refined ingredients and the threshold for disclosure. “
- NCGA Pleased by USDA Issuing Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Labeling Rule – National Corn Growers Association, 20 Dec 2018.
- Americans Deserve Better than the USDA’s GMO Labeling Law – Non-GMO Project, 20 Dec 2018.
- Soybean Growers Support USDA’s Bioengineered Food Disclosure Rule – American Soybean Association, 20 Dec 2018.
- OTA Responds to the GMO Labeling Standard – Organic Trade Association, 20 Dec 2018.
- FMI Applauds Rule Establishing a Single Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard – Food Marketing Institute, 20 Dec 2018.
- NMPF Statement on the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Rule – National Milk Producers Federation, 20 Dec 2018.
- USDA’s new disclosure rule for genetically engineered food will leave many consumers in the dark – Consumer Reports, 20 Dec 2018.
- Long-awaited Final Regulations for Gmo Food Labeling Leave Millions of Americans in the Dark – Center for Food Safety, 20 Dec 2018.
- EWG: GMOs in Many Foods Will Go Undisclosed Under Trump’s Final GMO Rule – Alex Formuzis, Environmental Working Group, 20 Dec 2018.
- USDA’s GMO Labeling Rule Keeps Consumers in the Dark for the Sake of Big Ag Profits – Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch, 20 Dec 2018.
- Bakers: Support for Federal Standard for Bioengineered Labeling – Katie Juhl, American Bakers, 21 December 2018. The baking industry supports a federal standard for disclosure.
- GMO Answers Applauds USDA for Fostering Informed Consumer Choice – GMO Answers via Cision PR Newswire, 21 Dec 2018.