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FDA Studying Approval of Edible Cottonseed
USAgNet - 10/18/2018

Cottonseed could become a high-protein food option, providing a boon to cotton growers, if FDA signs off on a new genetically engineered variety.

POLITICO reports that traditional cottonseed is toxic for humans and most animals because it contains a poisonous substance called gossypol. But a team of ag scientists at Texas A&M developed a type of cottonseed that contains very low levels of gossypol, making it edible for humans - and creating the possibility that the tree nut could help address global malnutrition.

USDA green-lighted the biotechnology on Tuesday. It determined the GE variety does not pose a plant-pest risk to crops or other plants, Pro Ag's Liz Crampton reports. The next step for Texas A&M researchers, backed by funding from Cotton Incorporated, is to finish consulting with FDA. If the agency determines the GE cottonseed is safe to eat, it could hit the commercial market in the form of products like chips, protein powder and flour.

Developers of the cottonseed - which, BTW, supposedly tastes like hummus - are expecting FDA's decision early next year. They can volunteer to present a safety assessment to the agency that takes into account factors such as comparing nutrient levels in the new GE plant with traditionally bred plants, or whether the altered variety could trigger allergic reactions. FDA would then evaluate the assessment to determine whether the new food complies with the law.

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