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Biotech livestock: USDA, FDA diverge over how to regulate genetically engineered animals

| | April 23, 2018

A disease that kills millions of pigs a year may soon meet its match — if two federal agencies can agree on the idea.

Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus is one of the latest examples of a condition that scientists believe they can beat with genetic engineering, and one that’s caught up in a disagreement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over how quickly such methods should be approved, and by whom.

On one side: FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, whose agency regulates genetically engineered food similarly to a drug. On the other: Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, pushing for faster approvals of a wide range of biotechnology that could block animal diseases and help cows produce more milk, among other benefits.

Perdue said he worries that FDA’s regulations on biotech animals could stifle innovation and slow the introduction of animals that could be more productive or resistant to diseases without the use of drugs or hormones. USDA already allows genetic engineering in plants, and Perdue said he sees livestock in a similar way.

Read full, original post: U.S. agencies clash over who should regulate genetically engineered livestock

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