A newly-launched campaign aims to promote USDA regulation of livestock gene editing when breeding animals for food. The “Keep America First in Agriculture” campaign launched by the National Pork Producers Council Tuesday suggests the Food and Drug Administration hand over regulatory authority of gene editing in animals produced as food to the Department of Agriculture. Gene editing differs from the transgenic method seen in certain crops where foreign DNA is introduced. FDA currently holds regulatory authority over gene editing in animals produced as food. The group would like to see USDA oversee this process because it already has a review process in place for genetic editing in plants under its Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). Producers also argue gene editing faces a lengthy and costly approval process under FDA. "Gene editing is a huge step forward for America's farmers,” said Dan Kovich, NPPC's deputy director of science & technology. “It offers a powerful new way to combat animal disease." Kovich fears the U.S. runs the risk of falling behind other countries like Canada, Brazil, and Argentina, who are moving quickly to advance this type of technology. He said NPPC is actively working with Trump administration officials, USDA, FDA and interested offices on Capitol Hill to figure out a path forward.

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