GMO Labeling Law Update: CFS Drops USDA Lawsuit Regarding Consumer Study
Legislation requiring labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients was signed into law on July 29, 2016. This law, entitled the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods by July 2018. Under the new law, food companies would have three options to disclose GMO ingredients: the use of on-package text, a USDA-created symbol, or an internet link — i.e., a QR code printed on the package that directs customers to GMO information. As part of the development of mandatory disclosure requirements for bioengineered foods, USDA was required to complete a study to identify potential technological challenges that may impact whether consumers would have access to the bioengineering disclosure through electronic or digital disclosure methods. This study was slated to be released in July 2017. As of late August 2017, the study had not been released and so the Center for Food Safety (CFS) sued USDA to release the study. On September 6, 2017, USDA released the mandated study.
This week, CFS dropped its lawsuit indicating that it has obtained a promise from the Administration to accept public comments on the consumer study for purposes of developing mandatory disclosure requirements for bio-engineered foods.