USDA Files New Bioengineered Food Symbols with U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed rule for the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) originally included three alternative symbols for the symbol disclosure option to label bioengineered (or, “BE”) foods:
2-A 2-B 2-C
USDA also included a supplemental document to the proposed rule with the color versions. The preamble to the proposed rule specifically requested comment, in part, on whether the word “Bioengineered” should be incorporated into the design of the chosen symbol and whether the phrase “May be” should be incorporated into the design of the chosen symbols to account for “may” disclosures.
On August 7, 2018, USDA filed six new bioengineered food symbols with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, to “certify that a product…is a bioengineered food”:
Interestingly, two of the newly filed symbols include the text, “made with bioengineering,” which was not explicitly contemplated in the proposed rule. Further, the new filing do not utilize the “smiley faces” associated with proposed Alternatives 2-B and 2-C, which received much attention in the comments to the proposed rule. Whether USDA adopts any of the newly filed symbols remains to be seen, but nevertheless, the filings do serve as a signal of USDA’s thinking as the Department works to finalize the regulations to implement the NBFDS.