Trump plans to facilitate approval of genetically modified organisms in the U.S.
by Leo Frühschütz (comments: 0)
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) have to revise the approval regulations for genetically modified organisms in their respective jurisdictions. President Donald Trump has instructed this and set the authorities a deadline of 180 days. The aim of this order is to speed up approvals for genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for agricultural products, reduce development costs and increase investments in agricultural biotechnology, according to the agency Bloomberg.
Action plan to increase acceptance of GMO products
The presidential executive order states that GMOs with a low-risk potential should be exempted from “undue regulations”. Special consideration is to be given to genome-edited plants that designed for health, ecological or agricultural benefits. In addition, the administrations are instructed to develop an action plan to increase consumer confidence and acceptance of genetically modified agricultural products. This includes the creation of advertising material that highlights the advantages of agro-genetic engineering and emphasises that state regulations guarantee the safety of products. The president further ordered the authorities to develop a strategy to support exports of U.S. GMO products. The goal of this is increase acceptance of genome-edited food abroad and to “remove unjustified trade barriers”. The Bloomberg agency states that the Biotechnology Innovation Organization lobby praised the Trumps initiative.
Glyphosate: Austria’s exit decisions gives hope
The decision of the Austrian parliament to prohibit glyphosate has once again rekindled the debate about the controversial weedkiller. The German government plans to present an exit plan in September.
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue supports the president in this matter. He says that the current legal framework hinders innovation rather than supporting it. In early June his authority already presented a first proposal on how to facilitate approval procedures. The review and feedback phase will be completed in the beginning of August. The proposal draft plans on strengthening the existing practice of largely exempting genome-edited plants from regulations.
Center for Food Safety wants to fight the initative
In contrast, the consumer association Center for Food Safety (CFS) is of the opinion that the approval rules are not now ready to protect farmers, rural communities and the environment from the negative effects of GMO cultivation. The president’s directive aims to further weaken these rules.“ CFS will fight this Trump initiative with all the means at our disposal”, says legal director at CFS George Kimbrell. This could include legal action against the expected legislative changes.
Sales of organic food and natural products increased in the USA in 2018. This was announced by the Organic Trade Association. The figures in detail.
In the USA, some strawberries grow in pots containing nutrient solutions, on soils previously treated with glyphosate. Nevertheless, they are sold as organic products.
According to research carried out by Testbiotech, the US agricultural authority APHIS has already granted more than 20 approvals for plants whose genetic material has been modified using new genetic engineering methods.