How will genetically modified ingredient disclosure in food products work? That's been a question posed throughout the food production sector since before Congress agreed to take the issue to the national level, superseding a potential web of different laws across states. When Vermont passed its GMO labeling law, the rest of the country was spurred into action.
The rules passed by Congress didn't specify exactly what kind of implementation and enforcement companies can expect when GMO labeling becomes the law of the land. Now, it's time for industry and government sources to come together and make that clearer.
Comment Period Open
According to NAFB News Service, the Department of Agriculture is now interested in hearing public input on the implementation of the GMO labeling rules. It has offered 30 different questions to gauge feelings about genetically modified ingredients from inside and outside of the industry. With clarity about current views on these products, the USDA has a better chance of delivering the most widely acceptable regulations possible.
The news service reported that questions regard such topics as whether disclosure rules should apply to ingredients that originated with GMOs but have subsequently been heavily refined. Furthermore, the agency is interested in seeing the public's consensus definition of "bioengineering," determining what other words are synonyms with it. Even foundational questions such as what amount of a substance has to be bioengineered to require disclosure are up for debate.
What's the Timeline?
The fact that the approval of GMO rules coincided with the election of a new presidential administration may delay their implementation. According to Organic Authority, Andrea Huberty, USDAAMS Livestock, Poultry and Seed Program senior analyst, explained at a recent industry gathering that the the rules may not be fully in place by the end of 2018. This is a delay based on the initially announced target date of July 2018, but represents a relatively short delay.
The news source added that even in this early, pre-implementation stage, some details of the rule have become clear: Meat and poultry products derived from animals raised on GMO feed will not have to carry GMO disclosure labels. Whatever the finished label looks like, Huberty has stressed that it won't resemble a warning symbol.
Ready for Change
Whatever happens in the comment period and beyond, it seems clear that there are changes coming to the world of food labeling. This is in addition to the switch-over to a new nutrition facts label. Food producers with in-house label printers can gain the agility needed to cope with new regulatory deadlines. Discover high-quality in-house label printers such as the Afinia A801 on our U.S. or Canadian sites.