USDA seeks comments on proposed rule for National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard | TheFencePost.com

USDA seeks comments on proposed rule for National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

-USDA

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Agriculture today invited public comment on the proposed rule to establish the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard mandated by Congress in 2016. The standard will provide a uniform way to offer meaningful disclosure for consumers who want more information about their food and avoid a patchwork system of state or private labels that could be confusing for consumers and would likely drive up food costs.

"This rulemaking presents several possible ways to determine what foods will be covered by the final rule and what the disclosure will include and look like," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. "We are looking for public input on a number of these key decisions before a final rule is issued later this year."

The proposed rule is open for comment for 60 days. Due to the congressionally mandated timeline for this rulemaking, the comment period will not be extended, so it is important that anyone interested file comments in a timely manner.

"The proposed rule published today by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service is a critical step towards establishing a National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard by the July 29, 2018, deadline. We want to sincerely thank Secretary Perdue, Under Secretary Ibach, and the Agriculture Marketing Service team for their diligence to get this critically important proposed rule published. The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food remains committed to a standard that gives consumers access to information about the food they purchase; ensures that farmers continue to have the tools they need to feed a growing world population; and provides certainty to food manufacturers, retailers and others in the supply chain," according to a National Corn Growers Association press release.

"Over 1,100 national, state, and local organizations representing the food and agriculture value chain supported enactment of the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Act, because it prevented a state-by-state patchwork of labeling laws, that would have cost U.S. consumers, farmers and manufacturers billions of dollars.

"Given the importance of ensuring the final rule is in place by the statutory deadline, the coalition will be analyzing the proposed rule and developing coordinated food and agricultural industry comments over the next 60 days. The coalition looks forward to providing the department with input that reflects the needs of consumers, farmers and the rest of the food value chain," the NCGA wrote.

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Comments may be submitted online through the Federal eRulemaking portal http://www.regulations.gov. Comments may also be filed with the Docket Clerk, 1400 Independence Ave., SW, Room 4543-South, Washington, DC 20250; Fax: (202) 690-0338.

The deadline for comments is July 3, 2018.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard Law was enacted by Congress on July 29, 2016. The proposed rule previewed in the May 3, Federal Register.