President Joe Biden recently signed an Executive Order to advance biotechnology investment and biomanufacturing innovation. The purpose is to help promote resiliency and sustainability within the U.S. food supply chain. The Executive Order is Advancing Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing Innovation for a Sustainable, Safe, and Secure American Bioeconomy. It outlines a comprehensive approach for further development of the sector.
“Biotechnology harnesses the power of biology to create new services and products,” President Biden explained in a statement. “Which provide opportunities to grow the United States economy and workforce and improve the quality of our lives and the environment.”
Some of the provisions of the order include growing domestic biomanufacturing capacity and expanding market opportunities for bio-based products. The order also seeks to improve access to federal data and support further research and development in the sector. Other priorities in the order include the continued development of a global bioeconomy while also protecting the U.S. biotechnology ecosystem. Understanding the difficult regulatory environment for the biotechnology sector, the order seeks to streamline the regulatory process.
AG INDUSTRY SUPPORT NOT UNANIMOUS
While supported by agricultural organizations such as the Ag Bioeconomy Coalition, the biotechnology investment garnered criticisms from other agricultural groups. Organizations such as the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association raised questions about some of the priorities of the order. While supportive of the provisions for technology such as gene editing, groups questioned how the order addresses imitation meat products.
“The cultivation of animal cells for human consumption does not further the goals of the Biden Administration in supporting independent agricultural producers. Instead, it promotes corporate and consolidated control of the food supply system,” USCA President Brooke Miller said in a press release. “Cell-cultured products cannot be independently produced – the technology is shrouded in intellectual property protection and requires intensive capital resources. These factors could lead to the monopolistic control of America’s sovereign food supply that we see already today in the U.S. livestock and meat industries.”