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USDA withdraws proposed biotech rule

The National Association of Wheat Growers supports the move.

USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule to revise the agency’s biotechnology regulations and will re-engage with stakeholders to determine the most effective, science-based approach for regulating the products of modern biotechnology while protecting plant health.

“It’s critical that our regulatory requirements foster public confidence and empower American agriculture while also providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” said Secretary Sonny Perdue. “To ensure we effectively balance the two, we need to take a fresh look, explore policy alternatives, and continue the dialogue with all interested stakeholders, both domestic and international.”

APHIS oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk.

“Today, we need to feed some 7 billion people. By the year 2050, that population will swell to 9.5 billion, over half of which will be living in under-developed conditions. To put the demand for food into perspective, we are going to have to double our production between now and 2050. We will have to produce more food in the next 30 years than has been produced in the last 8,000 years. Innovations in biotechnology have been helping American farmers produce food more efficiently for more than 20 years, and that framework has been essential to that productivity,” Perdue said. “We know that this technology is evolving every day, and we need regulations and policies that are flexible and adaptable to these innovations to ensure food security for the growing population.” 

The National Association of Wheat Growers applauded the move.

“The USDA’s regulatory requirements must be clear, transparent, and open to stakeholder engagement,” said National Association of Wheat Growers CEO Chandler Goule. “Today’s actions by the agency are a step in the right direction and we are pleased to see the agency working to improve its communication with the public.

“NAWG looks forward to working with USDA regulators to create policies that will foster innovation and encourage the adoption of modern technologies that will enable wheat farmers to address climate, disease, and pest problems.”

Find more information at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/biotechnology/news.

Source: USDA, NAWG

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