USDA’s proposed biotech label rule is is designed to bring clarity to a very complex issue. The Russell Group president and partner Randy Russell says the most difficult challenge is with the refined ingredients. “If 92 percent of corn, 94 percent of soybeans and nearly 100 percent of sugarbeets are biotech, one may argue any ingredients derived from the refined beet sugar, corn oil, High Fructose Corn Syrup and soybean oil would therefore be biotech. The counter argument is if you cannot detect any of the DNA or protein in the refined ingredient, it has to be truthful and not misleading. How could you say indeed those products came from a biotech seed?” The lengthy USDA proposal considers everything from the size of the label to the language used. “We have many details to work through, but I think at the 30,000-foot level there is real certainty and positive gains from this.” Congress wanted the rule to be in place by the end of July, but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says it will be the end of the year before things are finalized. The proposed rule has a 60-day comment period.
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