No QR Code for Bioengineered Food, More Modernizing of Biotech and more!
National Bioengineered Food Standard Upheld
A challenge to the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard of 2016 was largely rebuffed by in a lawsuit filed by coalition of natural and organic grocers. USDA’s implementation of the law provided three options for disclosure of bioengineered foods: (i) text, (ii) a USDA-created symbol, or (iii) electronic or digital link (i.e., a Quick Response (QR) code that directs scanners to online information). The Northern District of California dismissed most of the challenges to USDA’s rule, including the use of the term “bioengineered” instead of “genetically engineered.” However, the court did rule that the use of the QR Code as a stand alone option for the BE disclosure did not meet the requirements of the law and would have to be revised.
Another Executive Order to Update and Modernize Regulations for Biotechnology
The Biden White House issued Executive Order 14081 (Executive Order on Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy) on September 12, 2022, directing a “whole-of-government approach” and directing many federal Agencies to develop policies that will facilitate and accelerate the “bioeconomy” through biotechnology products and biomanufacturing. The new order continues the focus of previous administrations, including the 2017 Update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology Products implemented by the Obama administration, and the Trump administration’s Executive Order, Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products which sought to streamline ag biotech regulations. These orders continue a consistent U.S. policy for support and advancement of biotech.
This latest new order launches a “National Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Initiative” to focus on expanding biomanufacturing and development of new products. It also seeks to further clarify and streamline biotech regulations across Agencies, and includes several directives to advance agricultural biotechnology innovation. The order can be read here.
USDA Delays Deposit Requirement for Asexually Reproduced Varieties Protected by PVPA
The USDA recently announced that it would delay the requirement to deposit germplasm for asexually reproduced varieties that are submitted for protection under the Plant Variety Protection Act. The delay will continue for an indefinite time due to “ongoing technical challenges and infeasibilities.” An applicant must still submit a declaration that it will maintain propagating material which can be provided to the PVP Office within 3 months of a request. Read more here.