USDA Provides National Bioengineered Food Disclosures Updates
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard on December 20, 2018. 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.
Answer: The Standard defines regulated entities at 7 CFR 66.1 as the food manufacturer, importer, or retailer that is responsible for making a bioengineered food disclosure. For purposes of compliance and enforcement, AMS will be looking to the records maintained by these entities. Nothing in the Standard requires entities other than these regulated entities to maintain records to demonstrate compliance with the Standard. As such, unless a grain handler also meets the definition of a regulated entity, the Standard does not include any recordkeeping requirements or mandate any particular disclosure requirements for a grain handler. Any such requirements are governed by private contracts with entities throughout the food supply chain.
Is AMS going to ask grain handlers to produce records indicating that a certain shipment of grain is or is not bioengineered?
In order to make compliance easier throughout the food supply chain, AMS did include a List of Bioengineered Foods at 7 CFR 66.6. For foods on this list, including soybeans, there is a presumption that all foods, and foods derived from such foods, are bioengineered foods unless a regulated entity has records to demonstrate they are non-bioengineered. As such, there is no requirement to maintain records that affirmatively show a food on the list, or a food produced from a food on the list, is a bioengineered food.
Full List of Q & A About Bioengineered Food Disclosure Updates
USDA BE Disclosure Webpage