Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue … issued a statement making it clear that USDA does not regulate, or have any plans to regulate, plants produced through new breeding tools such as genome editing, as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests.
USDA said the new tools are increasingly being used to produce new plant varieties indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods. “The newest of these methods, such as genome editing, expand traditional plant-breeding tools because they can introduce new plant traits more quickly and precisely, potentially saving years or even decades in bringing needed new varieties to farmers,” USDA said in a news release.
“Plant breeding innovation holds enormous promise for helping protect crops against drought and diseases while increasing nutritional value and eliminating allergens,” Perdue added. “Using this science, farmers can continue to meet consumer expectations for healthful, affordable food produced in a manner that consumes fewer natural resources. This new innovation will help farmers do what we aspire to do at USDA: do right and feed everyone.”
The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service issued a statement with further details on the department’s position.
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