Gene editing in livestock regulatory structure being developed

A group of agricultural organizations sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack expressing continued support for USDA’s effort to develop a “modern” regulatory structure for gene editing in livestock. The groups pointed out that gene editing can help America’s food and agricultural producers address challenges such as zoonotic diseases, climate change and a growing global population. 

Under the current approach, FDA makes case-by-case decisions on gene-edited animals under agency guidance rather than through regulations. 

“This is an untenable way to regulate,” the organizations said, adding that agricultural producers and technology developers and investors need “clear, predictable criteria” and “federal policies that are risk- and science-based and that permit the meaningful adoption of these [gene-edited] products by producers, supply chains, and consumers.” 

USDA issued an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPR) for regulating gene editing in livestock, and the groups urged the agency to continue that rulemaking process to “ensure U.S. agriculture is sufficiently equipped with the tools needed to address our food production challenges in the future.”

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