Trump administration’s biotech oversight plan echoes Obama’s, but regulatory approach remains unknown

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Editor’s note: Gregory Jaffe is the director of the project on biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest

In 2017, agricultural biotechnology was not high on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) policy agenda. Then, this month, the USDA released its report on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity, which highlights the value of biotechnology innovation in U.S. agriculture and recommends streamlining biotechnology regulations. While the report’s recommendations don’t seem to differ from positions taken by the Obama administration, it will be important to watch how the Trump administration implements them in the coming months.

It calls for the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) to coordinate and improve science-based regulatory approaches among the relevant agencies. (This is all well and good, but the fact is that OSTP has been decimated under the Trump administration and only has a shoestring staff.)

The Trump administration should strive for appropriate risk-based oversight, and should not rush, in a deregulatory zeal, to eliminate regulations that are needed to ensure safety and consumer confidence, both domestically and internationally.

How (and how quickly) the report’s recommendations are implemented will tell us how important agricultural biotechnology will be during the Trump administration.

Read full, original post: Biotechnology and Biosafety Policy Under the Trump Administration: The Devil Will Be in the Details

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