IBA Submits Comment on BE Food Disclosure Rule

Today, IBA submitted comment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), which was tasked with promulgating a regulatory framework for the National Bioengineered (BE) Food Disclosure Standard.  In 2016, Congress enacted the Standard and set a legislative deadline of July 26, 2018 for publication of the final rule. 

Access IBA's comment on here.  In its comment, IBA makes recommendations about the scope and mechanics of the rule.  We also highlight three practical concerns that are not addressed in the underlying legislation: 1) the food industry's interest in having full and clear guidance documents promptly after the rule is finalized; 2) the threat of unfounded litigation by "patent trolls" targeting companies that comply using the "digital link" disclosure option; and 3) the need for a nationwide consumer-education campaign on BE foods and the new regulatory framework.  

Now that the public comment period is over, AMS must sort through more than 14,000 comments from interest groups, companies and individuals.  There is consensus across the food industry that AMS will not meet its deadline, though neither the agency nor Congress has released a contingency plan.  If AMS misses its deadline without an accommodation by Congress, many in Washington anticipate anti-GMO groups and consumer organizations will file suit against the agency.  

Thanks to all the IBA members who provided feedback for this comment.  We will continue to update members on the timeline for the regulatory process.