TLMI has adopted no formal position on the BE labeling requirements. The purpose of the Alert is to inform label printers and converters of forthcoming labeling changes so they may work with, and educate, their customers to implement necessary changes prior to the compliance deadline.
Highlights of the BE Proposed Labeling Guidelines:
Determining BE Eligibility: USDA is seeking comments on which foods will require labeling. The first category covers food from genetically engineered (GE) crops with a high adoption rate (85% or greater). As proposed, food in this category is proposed to be labeled "bioengineered food". Food from GE crops with a lower adoption rate may be labeled as "may contain a bioengineered food ingredient."
Labeling Requirements: USDA has proposed allowing manufacturers to use "QR codes," which are encoded images on a package that must be scanned with a smartphone or similar device, to inform the consumer of GE content, website, and other information.
Proposed BE Symbols: The BE symbols under consideration by the USDA are pictured above. You will see that some have bioengineered spelled out, and some do not. The agency is seeking comment on that, along with any preference for a particular symbol.
Proposed Exemptions: USDA is seeking comments on small businesses who may be exempt from compliance - specifically, if the annual revenue for such businesses should be either $500,000, or $5 million.
Symbol Color: USDA recognizes the potential increase in print and label cost for companies, and deems symbols in black and white as suitable for compliance.
Existing Label Inventory: The USDA is proposing that existing label inventories (printed prior the compliance deadline) be used until January 1, 2022, or until inventory of labels is depleted (whichever comes first).
Compliance Deadline: Larger companies (over $10 million in annual revenue) will be required to comply with the labeling requirements by January 1, 2020. Companies with revenues under $10 million annually have until January 1, 2021.
NEXT STEPS: The USDA will accept comments on the proposed guidelines until July 3, 2018,, and aims to issue its final guidelines later in the summer. The agency also plans to host Webinars on the guidelines.
More info: www.tlmi.com