USDA Updates FAQs Regarding BE Labeling
As previously reported on this blog earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) posted Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) and responses for manufacturers concerning its bioengineered (BE) food labeling rule (formally known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS)). We pointed out in that blog that the FAQs were not very helpful in answering the questions being raised by manufacturers regarding their obligations under the rule but noted that further guidance would provide further clarity.
On May 24, AMS announced that new FAQs on the BE food labeling rule were now available. The new questions include two on validation of processes for highly refined ingredients. There is also a question on the types of records that are required to show that the presence of a BE substance is inadvertent or technically unavoidable. Other new questions concern disclosure statements, and compliance and enforcement issues. It is not clear whether AMS will continue to update the FAQs with new questions and responses.
The implementation date of the NBFDS is January 1, 2020, except for small food manufacturers, which have until January 1, 2021 to implement the standard. The mandatory compliance date is January 1, 2022.