Summary: S.2609 — 114th Congress (2015-2016)All Information (Except Text)

Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to Senate without amendment (03/01/2016)

(This measure has not been amended since it was introduced. The summary has been expanded because action occurred on the measure.)

(Sec. 1) This bill amends the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946 to require the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to establish a national voluntary bioengineered food labeling standard.

The standard applies to food that either contains or was developed or produced using genetic material that: (1) has been modified through in vitro recombinant deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) techniques, and (2) could not otherwise be obtained through conventional breeding or found in nature. (Recombinant DNA is DNA that has been altered by joining genetic material from two or more different organisms.)

USDA regulations implementing this bill must:

  • prohibit claims regarding the safety or quality of food based on whether or not the food is bioengineered,
  • determine the amounts of a bioengineered substance that may be present for a food to be labeled as bioengineered, and
  • establish a process for requesting and granting determinations regarding other factors and conditions under which a food may be labeled as bioengineered.

USDA must provide science-based information through education, outreach, and promotion to address consumer acceptance of agricultural biotechnology.

USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services must report to Congress regarding the availability of information for determining whether food is bioengineered or bioengineering was used in the development or production process.

The labeling standard established by this bill preempts state and local laws regarding the labeling of bioengineered or genetically engineered food or seeds.