November 7, 2017

Trump’s agriculture department reverses course on biotech rules

From: Science Magazine

By Kelly Servick


USDA’s announcement and its notice in the federal register today provided little detail about the motivation for the reversal. The agency is taking another look at the rules to balance “regulatory requirements [that] foster public confidence” with a “review process that doesn’t restrict innovation,” Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Purdue said in a statement. USDA will now start fresh discussions with stakeholders to consider other approaches, the statement said.


Industry and research groups also feared new risk assessment requirements. In June, more than 100 biotechnology and agriculture trade groups submitted a letter to USDA laying out their objections to the proposal. It would require a lengthy risk assessment simply to learn whether a GE product would be regulated, the signatories said, and would slow the early development of new crop varieties by creating a hurdle to even small-scale field trials.

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