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Recent Developments on GM labeling in the United States

As a follow-up to the MAS message on August 8, 2016 announcing the newly passed GM labelling law, we would like to remind you to submit your views through the mas-sam@agr.gc.ca account and would appreciate any feedback you are able to provide by September 16, 2016.

Additionally, we wanted to make industry aware that the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) recently issued guidance for companies seeking to make label or labeling claims indicating that bioengineered or genetically modified (GM) ingredients were not used in a meat, poultry or egg product. This guidance also provides information on label or labeling claims that a product was produced from livestock or poultry that were not fed bioengineered or GM feed. FSIS considers these to be "negative claims". See FSIS website for more information. FSIS has provided for a 60 day comment period ending October 24, 2016 (the rulemaking docket folder can be found here).

FSIS previously had not allowed the use of the terms “genetically modified organism” or “GMO” in negative claims, instead preferring the term “genetically engineered”. However, because of the recent GM labeling legislation that was passed in July 2016 – which addressed negative claims – FSIS has indicated that they will immediately allow the use of the terms "genetically modified organism" or "GMO" in negative claims provided that the label or labeling is otherwise truthful and not misleading. The FSIS website includes a number of self-explanatory labeling examples to explain GM-related claims that it will accept.

FSIS further indicates that negative claims will continue to be approved only if a third-party certifying organization is identified and the label or labeling discloses a website address where consumers can obtain additional information regarding the claim and the certification process. An organic certifying organization accredited by USDA's Agricultural Marking Service (AMS) National Organic Program (NOP) is one example of a third-party certifying organization.

We invite you to share your views and any official comments you submit through the mas-sam@agr.gc.ca account on the GM guidance issued by FSIS prior to the October 24, 2016 deadline.

Thank you.
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