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June 19, 2015

USDA Issues Final Rule Amending Voluntary Labeling Program For Biobased Products


On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued final amendments to the regulations concerning the Voluntary Labeling Program for Biobased Products. The rule is intended to incorporate statutory amendments to Section 9002 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act signed into law on February 2, 2014. Among other changes, USDA has deleted the definitions of "BioPreferred product," "Designated item," and "Mature market products" and revised the definition of "Biobased product" to be:

(1) A product determined by USDA to be a commercial or industrial product (other than food or feed) that is: (i) Composed, in whole or in significant part, of biological products, including renewable domestic agricultural materials and forestry materials; or (ii) An intermediate ingredient or feedstock. (2) The term ''biobased product'' includes, with respect to forestry materials, forest products that meet biobased content requirements, notwithstanding the market share the product holds, the age of the product, or whether the market for the product is new or emerging.

Other changes included the addition or revision of definitions for "Certification mark artwork," "Designated product category," "Forest product," "Intermediate ingredient or feedstock," "Qualified biobased product," and "Renewable chemical." The rule is effective on July 15, 2015.