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Labeling Bioengineered Food in the United States

Final Regulations from the US Department of Agriculture

Margaret Rosso Grossman

Since the commercialization of genetically modified crop varieties, food produced from those varieties has been sold in the United States without mandatory labels to identify genetically modified content. Under a federal statute enacted in 2016 and implemented by final regulations promulgated in 2018, foods defined as ‘bioengineered’ must bear labels that disclose bioengineered food or food ingredients. These measures, which apply only to detectable bioengineered ingredients, establish detailed standards for disclosure, including a labeling threshold, several methods of disclosure, and exemptions from disclosure. Although the statute and regulations have been criticized, mandatory labeling will enhance transparency by informing consumers about genetically modified ingredients in their food.

Margaret Rosso Grossman is Professor Emerita and Bock Chair in Agricultural Law Emerita, University of Illinois. This Article is based on work supported by USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Project No. ILLU-470-348.


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