Crop developers say USDA’s effort to streamline its regulation of biotech crops will still slow the commercialization of many gene-edited products, but groups representing grain traders, food processors and restaurant chains are slamming the department's proposal, claiming it could lead to trade disruptions and undermine consumer confidence.
All three of the federal agencies charged with regulating bioengineered plants and animals are looking at ways of streamlining regulations and smoothing the path to commercialization for gene-edited traits.
Last week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responded to calls from our community to reconsider its role in regulating gene editing technology in animal agriculture. Despite the Trump administration’s recent directive to streamline costly and overly burdensome regulations that inhibit innovation and investment, FDA maintains it is unwilling to cede any regulatory control of this important technology.
Some activist groups and small-farm advocates seem to dislike anything that qualifies as a “big” agribusiness – especially those who sell crop protection chemicals. But they are increasingly being met by leaders who are openly trying to address their concerns.
Patents held by the MIT-Harvard Broad Institute for the use of the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 have been upheld by a federal appeals court, potentially bringing to an end a battle between the institute and the University of California, Berkeley.
Researchers in the U.S. and abroad are reporting progress on eliminating Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS), an incurable pig disease that costs the American pork industry as much as $660 million per year. However, regulatory hurdles and consumer perceptions are slowing down the commercialization of a possible cure through gene editing.