AMS Proposes to Add “Sugarcane (Insect Resistant)” to the List of Bioengineered Foods Subject to Disclosure Under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard
A December 21, 2018 final rule by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) established the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), as discussed here. The NBFDS regulations include a List of Bioengineered Foods (the List) that AMS has determined are currently in legal production somewhere in the world. Items on the List are presumed to potentially require a bioengineered (BE) food disclosure unless records demonstrate the item used is not bioengineered. A BE food disclosure may be required for a food that is not on the List only if the regulated entity has actual knowledge that it is bioengineered.
On July 24, 2020, AMS took action to update the List by recommending the addition of a new crop, ‘‘Sugarcane (insect-resistant),’’ based on the determination that in 2018, Brazil approved commercial production of BE sugarcane developed to resist borer infestations using recombinant DNA technology and in the 2018/2019 crop year, approximately 4,000 hectares were planted for commercial production. Additionally, in keeping with a policy of including a modifier when only one BE trait is available, AMS has proposed to include the modifier “(insect-resistant)” for an already listed crop, “Squash (summer).”
The addition of ‘‘Sugarcane (insect-resistant)’’ to the List may complicate the strategy of regulated entities wishing to alleviate NBFDS burdens by avoiding “Sugarbeet,” which is currently listed generically based on availability of more than one BE version. Comments on the proposed updates to the List are due by August 24, 2020. The mandatory date for compliance with the NBFDS is January 1, 2022.