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Critique of National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard


Dr. Henry J. Miller a physician-scientist and the Founding Director of the FDA Office of Biotechnology recently authored a commentary This Must be the Worst Regulation Ever dealing with the labeling requirements for bioengineered (GMO) foods. Co-authored with Drew Kershen an Emeritus Professor of Law, the item appeared this week in The Wall Street Journal as an example of creative confusion.

The National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS) requires labeling of bioengineered food if it "contains detectable genetically modified material" The Rule will bear a cost ranging from $569 million to $3.9 billion to implement and an in perpetuity annual cost of between $65 million to $234 million applying a three percent discount rate.

Miller and Kershen correctly point out that there will be no benefit from the expenditure of public funds for either consumers or the environment as the label requirement will be voluntary. The NBFDS regulation framed in terms of the 2016 law effectively preempted individual states from imposing their own labeling standards for bioengineered food. A Vermont law mandating label disclosure of milk and products from cows treated with BST, was struck down by the Second U. S. Circuit Court of Appeals following an action by dairy processors. The Court ruled that if there was no demonstrable health hazard or other substantial government concern, manufacturers can not be forced to disclose content.

Based on the complexity of regulations framed in terms of the NBFDS and the inevitability of litigation Miller and Kershen justifiably called for a repeal of the enabling legislation and replacement with a law restricting the ability of states to require GMO products to be labeled., a position endorsed by EGG-NEWS