On July 29, 2016, President Barack Obama passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act, which requires food manufacturers to label foods that contain genetically modified organisms (GMOs). While the specifics of the law are still to be hammered out, Litigation principal Gregory Morrow offered advice on what in-house lawyers should do to prepare in Corporate Counsel. Mr. Morrow also opined in Seafood Source about how the GMO labeling law will specifically impact the seafood industry.
In the August 9, 2016, Corporate Counsel article “A GC’s Guide to Obama’s New GMO Labeling Law,” Mr. Morrow said that “the legislation could spell trouble for food companies that don't have quality assurance programs.” His practice focuses on advising GCs at food companies to be proactive about building a dialogue with individuals involved in the production, sourcing, manufacturing and distribution of any food product. He commented that “as for companies that rely on suppliers, they should ensure that suppliers conform to specifications, whether GMOs can be found in a product or not. Food companies take on liability for their suppliers, so the GC needs to have a process in place for monitoring their activity as well. While the labeling law is likely to only apply to manufacturers, retailers should also be mindful of its requirements, as well as for lawmakers and regulators to engage with GCs in conversation whenever possible.”
Comments from Mr. Morrow were also featured in the August 8, 2016, Seafood Source article “Strategies Emerge After GMO Labeling Law Passed.” As the USDA decides on regulation and implementation, Mr. Morrow said that the seafood industry should be involved in the process of developing standards. He added, “Generally, there is a comment period before such federal regulation goes into effect. I believe it is very important for our industry to be involved and participate with USDA during this regulatory process so that we have a clear understanding of what compliance truly means.”