USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is now in charge of developing a national mandatory system for disclosing the presence of bioengineered material under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law, which was signed without fanfare on Friday by President Obama. USDA has formed a working group to develop a timeline for rulemaking and to “ensure an open and transparent process for effectively establishing this new program.”
The historic legislation passed by Congress last month is designed to provide consumers with more information about the foods they buy, and avoid uncertainty for food companies and farmers by setting in place a uniform, national disclosure system. The bill had the support of over 1,000 food and agricultural organizations.
“We are grateful to President Obama for swiftly signing into law a bill that is crucial for American farmers and consumers,” said National Corn Growers Association President Chip Bowling. “His signature brings consistency to the marketplace and prevents the negative ramifications of conflicting state and national food labeling standards.”
“For decades, biotechnology has made it possible for farmers to grow safe and healthful crops while reducing their environmental impact,” said American Farm Bureau Federation president Zippy Duvall. “We are pleased that Congress and the administration have moved swiftly to prevent consumer confusion and protect agricultural innovation.”
“We are very pleased that President Obama has signed this vitally important legislation into law, creating a sensible disclosure standard that is transparent and consistent across all 50 states,” said Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (CFSAF) co-chair Pam Bailey of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “As this law enters the rule-making process at USDA, the same farm to fork coalition that helped get this bill enacted into law will work to ensure that implementation is squarely in line with Congressional intent and in a manner that best serves consumers, farmers and food companies.” added Chuck Conner, CFSAF co-chair and President and CEO of the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives.
The USDA AMS webpage will be the source for public notification and collaboration on the development of the new program.