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National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Update

Updated Information Available regarding USDA's National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard - New FAQs and Disclosure Determination Tool (

September 25, 2019)

Updated information is available regarding the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. Updates to the Frequently Asked Questions are available below and also on the Agricultural Marketing Service's BE Disclosure webpage, in the Frequently Asked Questions section. 

A Disclosure Determination Tool is also available on the BE Disclosure webpage. The tool is designed to help regulated entities determine whether they are subject to, and must comply with, the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. This tool also provides an overview of the major requirements for determining what foods must be disclosed as bioengineered foods.

Updated Frequently Asked Questions

Added to General
Is documentation required to verify the BE status of enzymes, yeasts, and other micro-organisms, when I do not have definitive knowledge that these ingredients are bioengineered?

  • As required by 7 CFR 66.109, if a regulated entity has actual knowledge that a food is a bioengineered food or contains a bioengineered food ingredient, it must make an appropriate disclosure.

  • For foods not on the AMS List of Bioengineered Foods, like enzymes, yeasts, and other micro-organisms, if a regulated entity's records demonstrate they have actual knowledge that they are using a bioengineered version of these foods, then they must make a disclosure.

When a product label has a component ingredient statement (e.g., FILLING:  PORK, ONION, CABBAGE, CORN, SALT, SUGAR. WRAPPER:  WHEAT FLOUR, WATER.), how do I identify the first ingredient?

  • Predominance is defined at 7 CFR 66.1 and what foods are subject to the Standard based on the predominance of certain ingredients is explained at 7 CFR 66.3(b). For purposes of applying 7 CFR 66.3(b), AMS will look at the ingredients in the order in which they appear on the ingredient list of the food label. 

  • In this example, AMS would consider pork to be the first ingredient. Because pork is subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Act, the food would not be subject to the Standard.

Added to Disclosure
Does the BE Standard apply to a regulated entity selling food online, in catalogs, or through other remote means?

  • The disclosure requirements are discussed at 7 CFR 66.100. There is not a requirement for foods sold online, in catalogs, or through other remote means to include a bioengineered food disclosure other than what is required under 7 CFR 66.100 and the remainder of Subpart B of the Standard. 

  • AMS notes that although a disclosure is not required online or in a catalog, a regulated entity may choose to voluntarily include the bioengineered food disclosure in the materials included online or in the catalog.

Can a food not subject to the Standard make a claim regarding the absence of bioengineering?

  • As stated in 7 USC 1639(c), “A food may not be considered to be ‘not bioengineered,' ‘non-GMO', or any other similar claim describing the absence of bioengineering in the food solely because the food is not required to bear a disclosure that the food is bioengineered under this subchapter.”

Added to Compliance and Enforcement
Is documentation required for every single ingredient we use? Or for products that are already going to require disclosure, can we stop after we have enough information to determine which disclosure option to use?

  • The Standard at 7 CFR 66.302 requires regulated entities to maintain records that are customary or reasonable to demonstrate compliance with the disclosure requirements of the law.  If your records indicate that you are using a food on the AMS List of Bioengineered foods, or a food produced from a food on the List, then you must make a disclosure unless you have other records to demonstrate it is not a bioengineered food. 

  • Where a disclosure is made, any record, including the ingredient list or a product specification sheet that lists the ingredient, would be sufficient to demonstrate compliance with the law.

The Standard does not include an affirmative requirement to identify the BE status of all ingredients.

Pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (5 U.S.C. § 801 et seq.), the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs designated this document as not major, as defined by 5 U.S.C. § 804(2).

For more information visit: https://www.ams.usda.gov/rules-regulations/be

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