US says CRISPR crops can escape regulation
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has confirmed that it will not regulate foods created with gene-editing technology, such as CRISPR.
Sonny Perdue, the US Secretary of Agriculture, issued the statement on plant breeding innovation on last week.
He said that the department will allow crops made using gene-editing technology such as CRISPR to avoid regulations governing genetically modified organisms (GMO), clearing the way for new foods that could be made using CRISPR to enter the market. The technology allows the DNA of crops to be altered.
According to the Perdue, the USDA “does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests” as it “seeks to allow innovation when there is no risk present”.
Genome editing can introduce new plant traits quickly and precisely, “potentially saving years or even decades in bringing needed new varieties to farmers”, the statement said.
Plant breeding innovation can help to protect crops against drought and disease, increase nutritional value, and eliminate allergens.
“Using this science, farmers can continue to meet consumer expectations for healthful, affordable food produced in a manner that consumes fewer natural resources,” Perdue explained.
He added the caveat that while these crops do not need regulatory oversight, the USDA will continue to protect the health of plants by evaluating products which have been developed using biotechnology.
Perdue also said the USDA is working to modernise technology-focused regulations.
Under the Code of Federal Regulations title 7 section 340.1, if genetic engineering techniques only include the manipulation of the plant’s genomic material—rather than introducing other substances such as bacteria—then non-regulated status can be applied for.
As reported by The New York Times more than three years ago, agricultural companies have used this section of the regulations to allow genetically engineered crops to escape regulation.
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US Department of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, plant breeding innovation, CRISPR technology, genetically modified organisms, innovation
Published at Fri, 06 Apr 2018 15:51:41 +0000