Illinois Fertilizer & Chemical Association
Supply · Service · Stewardship

Countdown Begins for Compliance With GMO Food-Labeling Rule

Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.
Under the rule, food makers have four options for indicating GMO ingredients, ranging from saying so on the package to a fingernail-size QR code, so consumers may find it difficult to identify a GMO food. The labels will say bioengineered, rather than the more commonly used GMO, which also might dilute their impact. And disclosure is discretionary for some GMO ingredients, most prominently corn and soy oils from biotech plants.
Congress passed the labeling law in summer 2016, after months of struggle, in a legislative bargain that called for mandatory disclosure of GMOs nationwide in exchange for pre-emption of state labeling laws. President Obama signed the bill on July 29. After two years of rule-writing, the USDA released the GMO regulation at the end of 2018. The implementation schedule began a year ago, with small food manufacturers coming under coverage last Friday. Compliance becomes mandatory after December 31.
Although the deadline is nearing, the shape of compliance is still shadowy. “Nobody knows the answer to that,” said Greg Jaffe, who tracks biotechnology for the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest.
Click Here to read more.