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AMS Proposes Updates to its List of Bioengineered Foods

July 24, 2020, Covington Alert

On July 24, 2020, the United States Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Marketing Service (“AMS”) published proposed updates to its list of bioengineered (“BE”) foods. Under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (“NBFDS”), manufacturers, importers, and certain retailers must make a BE disclosure for foods on this list or foods containing ingredients on this list. Responsible parties need not make a disclosure if the food contains no detectable BE material or another exemption applies. AMS’s current list of BE foods was issued under the NBFDS in 2018 and is codified at 7 CFR § 66.6

AMS has proposed to add one crop to its list of BE foods: sugarcane. This addition is significant because some manufacturers use sugarcane in place of the currently listed sugarbeets to avoid the need for BE disclosure. AMS proposes to limit its initial listing to insect-resistant sugarcane, and plans to revise if other forms of BE sugarcane become available. AMS has also proposed to amend the currently listed “squash (summer)” to limit the listing to virus-resistant summer squash. AMS is considering adding cowpea and golden rice to its BE list at some point in the future. 

AMS is accepting comments on the proposed addition, proposed revision, and potential future additions through August 24, 2020 (Document No. AMS-FTPP-20-0057). The mandatory compliance date for the NBFDS is January 1, 2022. 

If you have any questions concerning the material discussed in this client alert, please contact the following members of our Food, Drugs, and Devices practice.

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