There’s an enormous change coming to the food and beverage industry regarding claims about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Starting in January 2022, brands won’t be ready to include a non-GMO claim and instead are going to be required to follow disclosure standards for bioengineered foods (aka GMOs). The rule was established by the USDA and is named the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS).
Over the last decade, non-GMO claims became increasingly popular as how to tell consumers that none of the ingredients during a product have had their characteristics changed through modification of their DNA. Products with non-GMO claims are positioned as superior quality, clean label and better for you. In 2018, Nielsen found that 87% of consumers believed that non-GMO claim meant a product was healthier and therefore the claim still resonates with consumers. The International Food Information Council’s 2020 Food and Health Survey found that quite 30% of consumers are influenced by a non-GMO claim when purchasing a product.
While these claims became commonplace, there has never been an FDA definition for non-GMO and any certifications are provided by third party vendors who have a uniform verification process. so as to mitigate the difficulty of not having federal guidelines in situ , congress passed the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law in 2016 which required the USDA to determine a national mandatory standard for disclosing foods that are bioengineered. The standards are released and may be implemented as early as January 2021, though they’re not required until the subsequent year.
Here’s what you would like to understand about the new standard:
Who is Affected? The new rule applies to all or any food manufacturers and importers also as retailers who package and label food for retail sale or sell bulk food items. It doesn’t apply to restaurants, restaurant-like retail food establishments (e.g.: a faculty cafeteria), or small manufacturers with fewer than 20 employees and/or with annual revenue of but $2.5 million.
What are bioengineered foods? Bioengineered foods contain genetic material that has been modified through in-vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid techniques, and that the modification couldn’t rather be obtained through conventional breeding found in nature. Examples include corn, alfalfa, potato and soybean. More examples are often found on the USDA website.
When do i want to form a bioengineered claim? A bioengineered food disclosure is required if the foremost predominant ingredient of the finished product (i.e. the primary ingredient on the merchandise label) may be a bioengineered ingredient. However, if the foremost predominant ingredient of the food is broth, stock, water, or an identical solution then a bioengineered food disclosure is required if the second most predominant ingredient of the finished product is bioengineered.
Are there any exceptions to the rule?
Yes, there are exceptions to the rule. These include:
- If the bioengineered ingredient is a smaller amount than 5% of the entire product then brands don’t got to disclose that the merchandise has bioengineered ingredients.
- Refined foods that don’t contain detectable modified genetic material are exempt from the bioengineered standard. This includes refined sugars, high fructose syrup and vegetable oils because these ingredients undergo processing conditions that degrade or eliminate the DNA of the bioengineered ingredient that was initially present within the raw agricultural commodity. Ethyl alcohol, which springs from corn and sometimes used as a solvent for flavor creation, is additionally exempt from requiring a bioengineered disclosure for this reason.
- Certified organic foods, incidental additives, pet food, animal feed or any food derived from animals (even if animal consumed feed produced from, containing, or consisting of a bioengineered substance) aren’t considered bioengineered foods.
Where do I even have to display this information?
The bioengineered food disclosure requirements must be placed on the knowledge panel, which is adjacent to the manufacturer and distributor name and site statement. Brands also can elect to display it on the front of their packaging. If there’s insufficient space to put the disclosure on the knowledge panel, it are often displayed on an alternate panel if it allows consumers to obviously see it under ordinary shopping conditions.
How does this differ than the standards for non-GMO claims? the most important differences between bioengineered and non-GMO claims are that third party verification groups checked out all ingredients during a product also because the source of the ingredient. That is, for non-GMO certification it didn’t matter if an ingredient didn’t have DNA from the source (e.g. high fructose syrup would be considered a GMO and thus a product that contains it couldn’t be certified non-GMO). Additionally, disclosing a bioengineered status are going to be mandatory whereas non-GMO verification was optional.
Will I still be ready to make a non-GMO claim?
Beginning in January 2022, brands won’t be ready to make non-GMO claims and may be fined for doing so.
How is that the rule being enforced? The USDA doesn’t have authority to issue a recall or impose civil penalties for violation of the NBFDS. However, there’s a mechanism within the NBFDS for filing a written complaint with the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) for suspected violations. Complaints are going to be investigated and there’ll be a chance for a hearing. Once these are completed the AMS will make a public summary of any finalized findings. Therefore, if a brand is investigated and therefore the AMS finds that they didn’t suits the NBFDS guidelines they’re liable.
How is Imbibe approaching the new regulations?
Imbibe’s regulatory team will still provide customers with a non-GMO statement in 2021 but also will provide customers with the bioengineered status. This document tells the customer if an ingredient sold by Imbibe is bioengineered or if it includes any genetically modified substances (e.g. if ethyl alcohol was used as a solvent to make a flavor sold by Imbibe, we’ll disclose that ethyl alcohol was used but it doesn’t require a claim because it’s highly processed). The regulatory team also will check out the merchandise as an entire to work out its bioengineered status.