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.
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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.
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