Summary: H.R.1599 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Passed House amended (07/23/2015)

Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015


Subtitle A--Food and Drug Administration

(Sec. 101) This bill amends the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to continue the voluntary consultation process established under the FDA’s "Statement of Policy: Foods Derived from New Plant Varieties." In that process, the FDA evaluates a scientific and regulatory assessment provided by the developer of a food produced from, containing, or consisting of a plant that is a genetically engineered organism (GMO).

The FDA may require a GMO food to have a label that informs consumers of a material difference between the GMO food and a comparable food if the disclosure is necessary to protect public health and safety or to prevent the label from being false or misleading. The use of a GMO does not, by itself, constitute a material difference.

Subtitle B--Department of Agriculture

(Sec. 111) This bill amends the Plant Protection Act to allow the sale of a GMO food (including imported food and excluding plant pests) only if the FDA has determined through the consultation process that the GMO food is safe and lawful and that determination has been shared with the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The FDA and USDA must report on implementation of this process. A GMO plant may be sold for research, to produce a processing aid or enzyme, or as a nutrient source for microorganisms without meeting these requirements.

USDA must publish a list of GMO plants that can be sold as food and the determinations made by the FDA and USDA regarding those foods.

(Sec. 113) State and local requirements for GMO food are preempted by this Act.


(Sec. 201) This bill amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to establish a voluntary genetically engineered food certification program. This program must be implemented through certifying agents accredited by the AMS.

For a food to be sold as a product produced without genetic engineering (non-GMO), the food must be subject to supply chain process controls that keep the product separated from GMOs and must be produced and handled in compliance with a non-genetically engineered food plan, which is a description of procedures to ensure compliance, monitoring records, and corrective actions in the event of a deviation from the plan.

For food derived from livestock to be sold as non-GMO, the product, livestock, feed, and products used in processing the feed must be produced without GMOs.

A food’s label or advertising cannot suggest that non-GMO foods are safer or of higher quality than GMO foods.

For a food to be sold as a GMO food, it must be produced and handled in compliance with a genetically engineered food plan. A GMO food’s label or advertising cannot suggest that it is safer or of higher quality solely because it is GMO.

The AMS must allow a person to voluntarily disclose how a product has been genetically engineered.

Imported products may be labeled as produced with or without genetic engineering if the products have been produced and handled under a genetic engineering certification program that provides safeguards and guidelines at least equivalent to the AMS’s requirements.

(Sec. 203) State and local requirements for the labeling of GMO products are preempted unless the state or local government establishes a program that matches the programs described in this Act.

(Sec. 204) Claims made before enactment of this Act regarding whether a product was produced with or without genetic engineering may continue to be made for 36 months after enactment of this Act. After that period, the claims must meet the standards in this Act. Products from certified organic producers are deemed to be certified non-GMO.


(Sec. 302) The FDA must regulate the term “natural” on food labeling.

(Sec. 303) State and local requirements for the term “natural” are preempted by FDA regulations.