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AMS Publishes National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Final Rule

Monday, January 7, 2019

(North American Meat Institute)

The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) published a final rule December 21 to implement the National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard (law) enacted by Congress in July 2016. The final rule reiterates the law’s provision that a food derived from an animal is not considered a BE food solely because the animal consumed feed produced from, containing or consisting of a BE substance. Also consistent with the law, the final rule states meat and poultry products with multiple ingredients are not subject to BE disclosure if the first item in the ingredient declaration is a federally inspected meat or poultry product. The rule, however, requires BE disclosure for meat and poultry products if the most predominant ingredient of the food would independently be subject to the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) labeling requirements, or if the food’s most predominant ingredient is broth, stock, water or a similar solution and the second most predominant ingredient would independently be subject to FDCA labeling.

In addition, the final rule establishes a threshold for the “inadvertent or technically unavoidable presence of bioengineered substances of up to five percent for each ingredient,” but does not allow for an intentional BE presence. Furthermore, AMS resolved the “highly refined ingredient” debate, concluding, “For refined foods that are derived from bioengineered crops, no disclosure is required if the food does not contain detectable modified genetic material.”

The rule's effective date is February 19, 2019, with a general implementation date of January 1, 2020, and an extended implementation date of January 1, 2021, for small food manufacturers. Entities responsible for bioengineered food disclosure are required to comply with the rule by January 1, 2022.

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