GM-Oh, What Are They Called Now? New Rules Hit the Shelves

Jan 11, 2022

New coat of paint, same car: The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard took effect Jan. 1st.

You may remember this as GMO Labeling, but the term GMO has undergone a facelift. Instead of genetically modified or GMO, food products in this category will be required to be labeled as “bioengineered” or “derived from bioengineering.”

So, what’s really required? Well, at least one of the following:

  • A label that includes “bioengineered food” or “contains a bioengineered food ingredient”
  • Use of one of two USDA-approved symbols for bioengineered food
  • QR code for consumers to scan
  • A phone number for consumers to text to learn more information about the food product

Anything else I should GMKnow? A significant exemption within these guidelines is for highly refined foods, such as corn syrup, where bioengineered material has been utilized but isn’t detectable after processing.

Final… but maybe not final final: The Center for Food Safety has sued the USDA in federal court over the final labeling regulations.

Negative soundbite: “These regulations are not about informing the public but rather designed to allow corporations to hide their use of genetically engineered ingredients from their customers,” said Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety.

Positive soundbite: “Soybean farmers are pleased that USDA took the time to do this rule the right way. We believe that it allows transparency for consumers while following the intent of Congress that only food that contains modified genetic material be required to be labeled bioengineered under the law, with food companies having the option of providing additional information if they choose.” noted Davie Stephens, American Soybean Association President.