On July 22, 2022, the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS or, the agency) published a proposed rule in the Federal Register, “2020 Annual Updates to List of Bioengineered Foods” (the Proposed Rule). The Proposed Rule is part of the agency’s annual requirement to consider updates to the List of Bioengineered (BE) Foods under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (the BE Standard or, the NBFDS). Specifically, the Proposed Rule would amend the List of BE Foods to:
- Add sugarcane (Bt insect-resistant varieties) and
- Modify the existing description of “squash (summer)” to include “squash (summer, mosaic virus-resistant varieties)”
All comments (written or via regulations.gov) must be received on or before September 20, 2022.
Importantly, at this stage, the proposed changes have not yet been finalized. If the Proposed Rule is finalized and implemented to update the List of BE Foods, a regulated entity will have 18 months to comply with the disclosure requirements for sugarcane (Bt insect-resistant varieties) and “squash (summer, mosaic virus-resistant varieties).”
A regulated entity is responsible for ensuring impacted products are appropriately labeled under the BE Standard. Manufacturers and importers are responsible for ensuring pre-packaged products are appropriately labeled, whereas retailers are responsible for labeling foods sold in bulk or packaged at retail locations.
Further, regulated entities would want to look to their suppliers of “sugarcane (Bt insect-resistant varieties)” and “squash (summer, mosaic virus-resistant varieties)” to ensure appropriate documentation and disclosure where necessary.
The List of BE Foods is significant. If your company is using an ingredient on the List, then you have to document whether the ingredient contains BE genetic material. If you are unable to document that an ingredient does not contain BE genetic material, then you must disclose it as a BE ingredient.
Please contact us if you have any further questions.