[T]he U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, issued a statement on March 28th providing clarification on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) oversight of plants produced through new breeding technologies, which include genome editing.
This statement is an unequivocal endorsement of genome editing as a safe and effective tool for plant breeders to adopt in order to generate new varieties of crops with superior performance and better nutritional quality. It was a very welcome statement of support for continued innovation in agriculture at a time when the issue of global food security is becoming more evident to policymakers and the general population.
The EU, which has been very cautious about embracing the cultivation of GM crops (despite importing large quantities of GM soybeans), is undergoing a drawn-out consultation and debate on the nature of genome editing. … [a] move by the EU commission towards something closer to Secretary Perdue’s statement would have a profound, positive impact on innovation in food and agriculture, food security and trading in agricultural products.
We can only live in hope, and encourage unity around the use of this important technology for better crops and improved nutrition worldwide.
Editor’s note: Maurice Moloney is Executive Director & CEO of the Global Institute for Food Security
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