Nov 6, 2017
USDA withdraws proposed GMOs biotech rule

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue attends the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) groundbreaking ceremony at the U.S. National Poultry Research Laboratory in Athens, GA on Friday, November 3, 2017. USDA photo by Monica Williams

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) Nov. 6 announced it is withdrawing a proposed rule that would have revised the agency’s biotechnology regulations.

APHIS, which oversees the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), will re-engage with stakeholders to determine the most effective, science-based approach for regulating the products of modern biotechnology while protecting plant health, the service said in a release.

“It’s critical that our regulatory requirements foster public confidence and empower American agriculture while also providing industry with an efficient and transparent review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” said USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue. “To ensure we effectively balance the two, we need to take a fresh look, explore policy alternatives, and continue the dialogue with all interested stakeholders, both domestic and international.”

APHIS oversees the importation, interstate movement and environmental release of GMOs to ensure they do not pose a plant pest risk. The work will continue while APHIS re-engages with stakeholders.

“Today, we need to feed some 7 billion people. By the year 2050, that population will swell to 9.5 billion, over half of which will be living in under-developed conditions. To put the demand for food into perspective, we are going to have to double our production between now and 2050. We will have to produce more food in the next 30 years than has been produced in the last 8,000 years. Innovations in biotechnology have been helping American farmers produce food more efficiently for more than 20 years, and that framework has been essential to that productivity,” Perdue said. “We know that this technology is evolving every day, and we need regulations and policies that are flexible and adaptable to these innovations to ensure food security for the growing population.”

As more information becomes available, it will be posted on the APHIS website.

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