The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is taking a step toward refining the regulatory framework that dictates the genetic engineering of animals. USDA is seeking public feedback as the agency moves forward with an Advanced Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR). The goal is to implement a more scientifically-sound process for the development of new technologies that will benefit American farmers and ranchers. The ANPR looks to modernize the rulemaking process to be more risk-based, with the hope to facilitate the increased development of biotechnology solutions for the agriculture industry.
“Our livestock producers need all the tools in the toolbox to help protect against animal diseases and continue to meet the challenge of feeding everyone now and into the future. If we do not put these safe biotechnology advances to work here at home, our competitors in other nations will,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a news release. “Science-based advances in biotechnology have great promise to continue to enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of life across America’s heartland and around the globe. With this effort, we are outlining a pragmatic, science-based, and risk-based approach that focuses on the potential risk to animal and livestock health, the environment, and food safety in order to provide our farmers and ranchers the tools they need to continue to feed, clothe and fuel the world.”
President Donald Trump previously issued an Executive Order calling on federal agencies to improve the regulatory environment as it pertains to agricultural biotechnology. USDA will be publishing the ANPR on animal biotechnology as the agency works to implement the provisions of the Executive Order. The ANPR will move some of the regulatory oversight authority related to animal biotechnology from the FDA to the USDA. The two agencies will pool their expertise to provide a more user-friendly approach to biotechnology innovation. USDA is proposing a regulatory framework that will provide a safe and timely process for commercializing new scientific breakthroughs in the area of animal biotechnology.