Should the government have ordered the destruction of harmless and beautiful ‘illegal’ GMO petunias?

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This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Sometimes government regulators do things that are not merely misguided but gratuitously stupid. A classic example came [May 2017], when the U.S. Department of Agriculture called for the destruction of at least 13 varieties of petunias with striking hues. These plants don’t pose any danger to health or the natural environment. But because they were crafted with modern genetic-engineering techniques, technically they’re in violation of 30-year-old government regulations.

If a researcher wants to perform a field trial with a regulated article such as the forbidden petunias, he must submit extensive paperwork to the Agriculture Department. After conducting tests for years at many sites, the developer can then submit a large dossier of data and request “deregulation” by the USDA for cultivation and sale.

These requirements make genetically engineered plants extraordinarily expensive to develop and test.

Since it’s illegal to sell the genetically engineered petunias without a permit, regulators have told vendors to destroy them. I have a better idea. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue should instruct his subordinates to invoke “enforcement discretion” and not take action against the sellers. Or he can ask growers to donate the flowers to cancer wards in pediatric hospitals. There’s a difference between petunias and plutonium.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Attack of the killer petunias (behind paywall)

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