U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue indicated that issuance of the GMO labeling rule will be delayed until later this year, missing its July deadline. The USDA is still taking comments from other federal agencies and may incorporate some guidance prior to release.

The Congressionally required GMO labeling mandate is one of the key requirements for the packaging industry. The statute gave the USDA three options to consider for GMO disclosure, including a written text, symbol or electronic disclosure method printed directly on a food label. The GMO disclosure will likely include either a symbol or type of electronic disclosure as part of the final design, permitting packagers to utilize that option on their labels.

The delay allows the FDA to link the new GMO labeling requirements, with another milestone requirement, the forthcoming Nutrition Facts panel. Both the FDA and USDA have acknowledged that coordination on the new label requirements is essential for industry compliance, anticipated by January 1, 2020.