Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has announced that the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is making it easier for consumers to identify biobased products through the release of its proposed BioPreferredSM labelling rule.
USDA’s BioPreferred labelling program, published in the Federal Register, intends to create a product label that would appear on qualifying BioPreferred biobased products. When final, this regulation will allow biobased product manufacturers to participate in a voluntary labelling program to identify biobased products on retail store shelves.
“Increasing the purchase and use of biobased products is a priority of the Obama Administration because it helps increase our nation’s energy security and independence by using American agricultural products, while spurring economic development in rural areas,” said Vilsack. “Consumers want to make more informed product choice decisions and BioPreferred will help them. This label will help consumers, businesses and Federal government purchasers easily identify biobased products.”
Manufacturers will be able to utilise the BioPreferred label, when finalised, to help customers identify their products as biobased. Currently, USDA has identified more than 15,000 commercially available biobased products across approximately 200 categories, from cleaning products to construction materials. Biobased products are available to consumers today and the new label will help make these sustainable products more accessible and serve as a valuable marketing tool for manufacturers and vendors of biobased products.
Biobased products are products that are composed wholly or significantly of biological ingredients – renewable plant, animal, marine or forestry materials. A BioPreferred designated item is one that meets or exceeds USDA-established minimum biobased content requirements.