In order to stop a patchwork of contradictory state GMO labeling laws, Congress worked over the past year to create a national, uniform standard for identifying genetically engineered (“GE”) foods. That work culminated in the passage of Senate Bill 764 (“S. 764”) in July 2016. The new standard will require GE foods to bear a text, symbol, or digital or electronic link (i.e. a QR code) that provides information about the GE content of the food. The bill was signed into law by President Obama on Friday, July 29, 2016. Pub. L. No. 114-216, 130 Stat. 834.
S. 764 entrusts the U.S. Department of Agriculture (“USDA” or “the Department”) with creating the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“the standard”). USDA was provided the authority instead of the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”) because Congress views GE content claims as a marketing issue, not a food safety issue. USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service will administer the standard on behalf of USDA.
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