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Ag Groups Call for Regulatory Transparency on Gene Editing
USAgNet - 08/08/2019

The Corn Refiners Association and 11 other food and agriculture groups representing a broad cross section of the U.S. food and agriculture value chain urged the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to ensure transparency in regulation of gene edited crops. Comments related to the proposed rule on movement of certain genetically engineered organisms are due today, August 6, 2019.

The comments call for a mandate that developers disclose the use of genetic engineering to APHIS, reflecting the industry's commitment for consumer transparency and regulatory consistency.

"CRA and its members appreciate that innovation is paramount to progress, and we remain in strong support of genetic engineering practices," said John Bode, president and CEO of the Corn Refiners Association. "Transparency regarding genetic engineering is the best way to foster consumer acceptance, which is why the proposed rule must be changed. By requiring the disclosure of use genetic engineering, APHIS can ensure consumer confidence in both the broader regulatory system and the companies providing the food on American plates."

Under the proposed rule, APHIS would not regulate certain genetically engineered plants if they could be produced via traditional breeding techniques and therefore would not likely pose a plant pest risk. While the undersigned organizations strongly support these crop technologies with appropriate government oversight determined through prudent scientific risk assessment, they recognize that consumers have strong interests in what is in their food. The proposed rule has the potential to 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.

Organizations signed onto the comments include: American Bakers Association, American Frozen Food Institute, CRA, Grocery Manufacturers Association, Institute of Shortenings and Edible Oils, International Dairy Foods Association, International Food Additives Council, National Grain and Feed Association, National Oilseed Producers Association, National Restaurant Association, North American Millers Association and SNAC International.

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