GMO Labeling Law Update: USDA Appears to Drop Consumer Use Study
Responding to industry complaints, USDA appears to have dropped GMO consumer use study.
As previously discussed on this blog, on July 29, President Obama signed S. 764 into law, establishing a federal framework for the labeling of genetically modified (GM) foods and food ingredients. This law directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bioengineered foods by July 2018. As also covered on this blog, last month, the Agency issued a request for information (RFI) to inform the design of two studies intended to assist the Agency with developing mandatory disclosure requirements for bioengineered foods. One study would identify potential nationwide technological challenges that may impact whether consumers would be able to rely on electronic or digital links on food packages, and the other would evaluate the likelihood consumers will use electronic or digital disclosures.
In an October 19, 2016 press release announcing the solicitation for vendors to submit proposals to conduct a Study on the Electronic or Digital Link Disclosure, the Agency appears to have dropped the consumer use study. The press release notes that, based on comments received during the RFI, the Agency has revised its requirements for what the study will entail, “including modifying the study design to align more closely with the factors identified in the statute.” The proposals for the study on technological challenges are due on November 22, 2016.
USDA’s decision to drop the consumer use study follows industry complaints that the consumer study was unnecessary and outside the scope of the law’s requirements. We will continue to keep you apprised of the latest developments regarding USDA’s implementation efforts of this new federal GMO labeling law.