January 18, 2017

19/01/2017: NGFA emphasises importance of engaging with trading partners, USA

In response to the recent release of proposals regarding the US government's pre-market regulatory oversight of genetically engineered plants, the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) emphasised the importance of working to achieve consistent regulatory policies globally for products of the latest plant breeding methods to avoid costly disruptions in international trade

The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the US Food and Drug Administration(FDA) published several documents related to the pre-market regulatory oversight of genetically engineered plants and plants and animals derived from certain newer precision breeding techniques, commonly known as genome editing.

Image: Ian Sane
The NGFA is still reviewing in detail the USDA's pre-published proposed rule on the "Importation, Interstate Movement, and Release into the Environment of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms," as well as a companion proposal and guidance document issued by FDA.

The NGFA said given the global nature of agriculture and the importance of trade to the economic well-being of farmers, ranchers and the nation as a whole, consistent regulatory policies among governments for products of the latest plant breeding methods, such as gene editing, are needed so that trade in US commodities, research collaborations and global seed movement are not hindered or disrupted.

"It is critical that the US government actively engage with our trading partners around the world, and secure alignment in regulatory approaches with US trading partners before these regulations are finalised and take effect," the NGFA noted.

USDA's proposal recognises that some applications of gene editing result in plant varieties that are essentially equivalent to varieties developed through more traditional breeding methods, and proposes to exclude such traits from pre-market regulatory review.

The NGFA also noted that consumer education about the safety of these products should be a top priority.

"It will be imperative that the US government and the seed industry, technology providers and the value chain explain the scientific basis and rationale for this regulatory approach to consumers to facilitate understanding and acceptance of these technologies and their commercial application in the marketplace," the NGFA stated.

Read more HERE.

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