US GMO, CRISPR crop regulations could face major ‘overhaul’ in 2020

Farm bill National Review
Credit: KRVN

USDA officials are confident that a finalized proposal to overhaul the country’s regulatory framework for biotech crops can be achieved in 2020.

The regulations have not been updated for more than 30 years and several attempts to revise the Part 340 rule have fizzled out, including one issued by USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) at the end of the Obama administration.

The Trump administration abandoned that effort and issued a new proposal in June that calls for sweeping changes to the APHIS regulatory regime, including a plan to exempt most crops made with new gene-editing techniques from any premarket review.

Although the draft rule has drawn mixed reviews — farm groups generally favor the proposal while grain exporters, food companies and organic interests are unconvinced – APHIS is hoping to finalize its proposal in the spring of 2020.

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“This is the first time in three decades that I think we are going to cross the finish line on updating plant biotechnology regulations,” Greg Ibach, USDA under secretary for marketing and regulatory programs, said last week (December 5) at the APHIS Biotechnology Regulatory Services’ (BRS) annual stakeholder meeting.

Ibach touted the proposal as bringing the APHIS regulatory regime in line with advances in biotechnology.

Read full, original article: Food & Ag Policy Briefing: New front opens in US-EU trade war, biotech rule revamp, UK election

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