Lawsuit Against USDA Over Final GMO Labeling Rule

July 28, 2020


PCC joined a lawsuit filed by the Center for Food Safety (CFS) against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and its final rule on genetically engineered (GE) food labeling, known as the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS).

PCC has a long history of advocating for transparency in labeling of foods produced through genetic engineering (GE) and submitted comments to the USDA when a draft rule for a federal labeling standard was published in July 2018. We expressed concerns over the same four proposed standards that CFS’s lawsuit challenges.

Since the rule’s finalization and release at the end of 2018, PCC has voiced disappointment in the rule and was forced to revise plans for our own GE labeling program to ensure compliance with the rule and avoid consumer confusion.

Some of the primary issues with the rule include its mandate to use the term “bioengineered” (instead of more commonly recognized terms of GE and genetically modified organism or GMO), allowance of QR codes and text messages as acceptable forms of labeling, exemption of highly processed foods as “undetectable,” and prohibition against labeling certain categories of foods, such as meat that’s been fed GE grain.

The lawsuit alleges that these four components of the rule constitute arbitrary and capricious rulemaking and violate the 1st amendment rights of retailers and food manufacturers to provide truthful information to their consumers.

To read CFS’s press release on filing the lawsuit, click here.

To read the legal complaint, click here.

Related reading

Support GE food labeling law

Thank you to Rep. Jay Inslee, co-sponsoring the Genetically Engineered Food Right to Know Act, H.R. 2916.

Rulemaking for national GE labeling

We respond to USDA questions for stakeholders on what we want to see in GE labeling.

Opposing the DARK Act rider

PCC is one of 85 businesses to sign a joint letter to President Obama, asking him to fulfill his campaign pledge to label genetically engineered food.