NGOs Sue USDA Over Delay in Issuing BE Disclosure Rules
The 2016 National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standards (NBFDS) Act directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to develop regulations and standards to create mandatory disclosure requirements for bioengineered (BE) foods by July 2018. The Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Center for Environmental Health (CEH) filed a lawsuit in the Northern California U.S. District Court on August 1 citing USDA’s failure to meet that deadline. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue; Bruce Summers, Administrator, USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service; and USDA are named as plaintiffs in the suit. The nongovernment organizations (NGOs) filed the lawsuit in order to obtain a mandated schedule of when the implementing rules will be published, CFS stated in a press release.
This is not the first time CFS has sued USDA in connection with the NBFDS. The Center sued USDA in September 2017 for not releasing the results of a study on possible technical challenges to obtaining BE information through electronic or digital disclosure methods that was mandated by the Act. CFS dropped that lawsuit after USDA released the study results. Last month, CFS sued USDA for denying its Freedom of Information request (FOIA) to obtain documents surrounding the Department’s decision on how to label BE foods. More information on that suit can be found on CFS’s website.
The comment period on USDA’s proposed requirements to implement the NBFDS closed on July 3. (See our July 6 blog to view a summary of the comments received.) We will continue to monitor developments on the NBFDS.