Bioengineered Food Labeling Requirements

Grocery Images (1)Please note that the below blog is intended to be informative and by no means offer legal advice on the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard. While ADC’s fresh item management platform is intended to help automate food labeling requirements, we encourage you to stay informed at BE Disclosure | Agricultural Marketing Service (usda.gov) or obtain legal counsel from a firm who specializes in food law.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard

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The deadline to implement the USDA’s National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard food labeling mandate is January 1, 2022, and that means businesses have until the end of the year to make sure their food labeling meets the needed requirements.

The Standard defines bioengineered (BE) foods as those that contain detectable genetic material that has been modified through certain lab techniques and cannot be created through conventional breeding found in nature.

This food labeling mandate impacts food retailers, food manufacturers, and food importers, and requires that they ensure that BE foods or food containing BE material are disclosed via text, symbol, electronic or digital link, and/or text message.

Things for Retailers to Consider

According to the frequently asked questions on the USDA's website, retailers who package food or sell food in a bulk container and/or display are responsible for ensuring that any bioengineered food bears a BE disclosure or that a bulk display includes signage identifying the food as BE.

The USDA site also states that retailers who prepare and sell restaurant-type foods “do not need to make a bioengineered food disclosure on restaurant-type foods. A retailer that prepares all other types of foods is subject to the requirements of the Standard and must make appropriate bioengineered food disclosures. For example, individual bagels prepared and sold by a retailer would not be subject to the Standard, but a package of six bagels prepared and sold by a retailer would be subject to the Standard.”

BE Foods

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The Agricultural Marketing Service developed a List of Bioengineered Foods to identify the crops or foods that are available in a bioengineered form throughout the world, and for which regulated entities must maintain records. These records will inform regulated entities about whether they must make a bioengineered food disclosure.

Current List of Bioengineered Foods:*

  • Alfalfa
  • Apple
  • Canola
  • Corn
  • Cotton
  • Eggplant
  • Papaya
  • Pineapple
  • Potato
  • Salmon
  • Soybean
  • Squash
  • Sugarbeet

*This is a listing of the BE foods that are currently in legal production in the world in April 2021. New BE products continue to be developed and food not included on the list that are bioengineered must be disclosed. Stay up to date by visiting the List of Bioengineered Foods | Agricultural Marketing Service (usda.gov).

Solutions to Address Bioengineering Compliance

ADC’s FreshIQ® platform makes it easy for retailers to meet food labeling requirements like the Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard with the platform’s Recipe Management and Label Printing.

FreshIQ's Recipe Management solution helps identify necessary BE ingredients and takes the hassle out of manually tracking bioengineered foods. The system automates ingredient tracking by allowing retailers to import ingredients that have been flagged according to the regulation. The recipes will then derive the appropriate declaration.

For many retailers, making label changes to fit new regulations are not always easy and can be costly. ADC’s Label Printing helps support proper labeling and allows BE ingredients to be printed via a statement or a graphic with functionality featured in Recipe Management.

Speak to ADC today to learn more about how the FreshIQ fresh item management platform can help your business with food labeling requirements.