Gene Editing Regulation Needs Transparency

Poor growing conditions in 2018 will affect 2019 crop ( Darrell Smith )

A group of agricultural associations are urging USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to ensure transparency in regulating gene-edited crops. The comment period APHIS concerning rules regarding gene editing closed earlier this week.

The rule mandates that developers disclose the use of genetic engineering to APHIS to show more transparency for consumers and regulatory consistency. One of the associations, the Corn Refiners Association (CRA), stated it’s a strong supporter of genetic engineering prices.

“Transparency regarding genetic engineering is the best way to foster consumer acceptance, which is why the proposed rule must be changed,” said John Bode, president and CEO of CRA. “By requiring the disclosure of using genetic engineering, APHIS can ensure consumer confidence in both the broader regulatory system and the companies providing the food on American plates.”

The proposed rule means APHIS won’t regulate genetically engineered plants if they could have been produced using traditional breeding techniques.

However, the groups state the proposed rule would “undermine consumer trust in the regulatory system and limit the ability of members of the food value chain to maintain consumer transparency. Further, the proposed rule would introduce inconsistencies within the regulatory treatment applied to genetic engineering, thus having the potential to cause significant market and trade disruptions.”