USDA seeks comments on annual updates to list of bioengineered foods

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On July 22, 2022, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) opened up public comment on a proposed rule to make two changes to the List of Bioengineered Foods (the List). The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (the Standard) requires AMS to develop and update the List to identify Bioengineered products that are approved for production and in commercial production somewhere in the world.

Since January 1, 2022, regulated entities have been subject to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (the Standard), USDA’s mandatory standard that requires disclosure of the bioengineered status of food and food ingredients. Bioengineered foods are defined as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid techniques and for which the modification could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature.[i]

On July 24, 2022 a notice announcing the proposed updates to the List was published in the Federal Register.  Specifically, AMS has proposed two changes to the List:

  • add “sugarcane (Bt insect-resistant varieties)”
  • amend “squash (summer)” to “squash (summer, mosaic virus-resistant varieties)”

The List is intended to aid regulated entities in considering whether they need to make a bioengineered disclosure under the Standard. Pursuant to the Standard, a disclosure is required where the entities have actual knowledge that such foods or food ingredients are bioengineered. If a food or ingredient is produced from an item on the List, an entity must make a bioengineered food disclosure unless they have records demonstrating that the food or ingredient is not bioengineered.[ii]

Interested parties may submit comments specifically related to the proposed changes or many recommend other foods to add to the List. AMS invites public comment on updates to the List through September 20, 2022. Comments may be submitted online at www.regulations.gov.

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[i] 7 CFR 66.1.

[ii] 7 CFR Part 66.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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