Countdown begins for compliance with GMO food-labeling rule

Four years after the thunder in Congress over labeling foods made with GMO ingredients, the deadline for compliance with the USDA labeling regulation is in sight — the end of 2021 — despite complaints that the rule is riddled with loopholes that exempt many foods.

Label low- and no-calorie sweeteners, says sugar group

The Sugar Association, which describes itself as "the scientific voice of the U.S. sugar industry," petitioned the FDA on Wednesday to require clearer labeling of foods that contain alternative low- and no-calorie sweeteners. The FDA has six months to respond to the petition.

FDA eases nutrition labeling rules for restaurants clearing inventory

To facilitate the distribution of food during the coronavirus pandemic, restaurants and food manufacturers will be temporarily allowed to sell packages of food that lack the Nutrition Facts label normally required for retail sale, said the FDA on Thursday. (No paywall)

Voluntary, not mandatory, meat-origin labels, says Perdue

Despite interest among cattle activists, a return to mandatory country-of-origin labels on beef "is not going to happen unless we want to do a billion-dollar litigation damage with Mexico and Canada," said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday.

House revives biodiesel tax credit two years after it expired

Congress is on the verge of retroactive restoration of the $1-a-gallon biodiesel tax credit, a result of the last-minute inclusion of a package of tax breaks in a mammoth government funding bill. The House passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Senate is expected to approve it by the end of the week.

USDA tiptoes into cell-based ‘meat ‘ argument

An estimated 40 companies worldwide are in the race to bring to market cell-based meat — "clean meat" in the eyes of proponents and "fake meat" according to ranchers. Asked if the product qualifies as meat, Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary Mindy Brashears responded, "This is something we will be talking about. That is an important priority for us."

As USDA and FDA agree on oversight, aggies rail against ‘fake meat’

In a step that moves a new industry closer to commercial reality, the premier federal food-safety agencies agreed on Thursday on how to jointly regulate cell-based meat, a laboratory-grown protein that farm groups call “fake meat.” The FDA will oversee cell collection and growth, while the USDA will oversee harvesting and processing, and have final say over labeling.

Four reasons to check out FERN’s SXSW panel on Big Food

Next week, FERN is headed to Austin, where I’m moderating two panels at SXSW! One of them — The Future of Big Food: What’s at Stake? — will take on big questions about where Big Food companies are headed. As eaters increasingly want transparency about ingredients, healthier options, and more sustainable packaging, where does that leave manufacturers? And will new labeling regulations shift the grocery environment? (No paywall)

USDA releases GMO labeling rule

The USDA released rules on Thursday for on-package labeling of bioengineered ingredients. The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard will require most food manufacturers, importers, and some retailers to clearly label bioengineered ingredients.