Biotech industry urges USDA to overhaul ‘outdated’ crop biotechnology regulations

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[The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)] is proposing a regulatory program in which it first assesses GE organisms to determine if they pose plant pest or noxious weed risks.

In recent comments submitted to USDA, industry stakeholders have applauded the Agency’s proposed rule as underscoring the need to promote innovation in biotechnology and for proposing to ease regulation of gene-edited products. But at the same time, industry has called out a number of proposed revisions as improperly expanding USDA’s review process in certain respects which could effectively hamstring developers before they can even begin testing products.

For example, one key provision would leverage USDA’s authority under the Plant Protection Act (PPA) to begin assessing genetically engineered plants for their potential to become a “noxious weed,” which would potentially expand the Agency’s review process. The existing regulatory review process is focused on assessing whether a biotech plant would be a “plant pest.” The Agency’s proposed new approach would thus add a new layer of regulatory review. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization contends in its comments that APHIS already assesses plants for weediness under its existing regulatory review process and argues that the proposed rule “would create two parallel regulatory systems to evaluate the same risk, under the same statutory authority, in potentially inconsistent ways.”

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: Industry Urges USDA to Start Over on Proposed Rule to Revamp APHIS Biotech Regs