Will relaxed USDA GMO, gene-edited crop regulation fuel consumer distrust of biotech?

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Plants genetically modified to make changes that also have been made through conventional breeding will not need specific federal oversight, according to a new regulation published by the U.S. Agriculture Department.

This regulation was initially proposed during the Obama administration, Reuters reported. It was published in the Federal Register as a proposal last year, and received more than 6,150 comments.

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Through this rule, USDA puts its focus on plant and crop safety, and which policies and procedures make sense for both those developing crops and individuals who actually do the regulating on the government’s end.

However, for those who care deeply about GMO food — and there are plenty of consumer groups that do — this regulation is clearing the way for food companies to deceptively get these products to consumers. 

Related article:  Podcast: Activism's dark side—Earth Liberation Front bombs 'GMO' tree lab, destroys endangered plants instead

“The result is that government regulators and the public will have no idea what products will enter the market and whether those products appropriately qualified for an exemption from oversight,” Gregory Jaffe, the Center for Science in the Public Interest’s biotechnology project director, said in a written statement.

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