Trump simplifies reviews of genetically modified agricultural products

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed an executive order directing federal agencies to streamline the review process for agricultural biotechnology, including genetically modified livestock and seeds.

FILE PHOTO: US President Donald Trump speaks on a range of topics, including failed infrastructure talks with Democratic lawmakers, as Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue listens at an event to discuss administration efforts to “support American farmers and ranchers” in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, USA, May 23, 2019. REUTERS / Carlos Barria / File Photo

Trump signed the order during a visit to an ethanol plant in Council Bluffs, Iowa.

The executive order, he said, “would speed up biotechnology reviews so that farmers can access critical scientific advances faster and reap the full benefits of American innovation for many years to come.”

The White House said in a statement that the ordinance “will help eliminate delays, reduce development costs and provide greater certainty about the review process for farmers.”

The Organization for Biotechnology Innovation, an industry group that represents companies such as Bayer AG, said the order was “an important step forward in ensuring that government policy does not prevent 21st century biotechnology from emerging. meet the many global challenges “.

“America is about to enter a new era of sustainable agriculture and food production, and it is important that we achieve this right for farmers, consumers, American businesses and the world at large.” said Jim Greenwood, chief executive of the organization. .

The ordinance directs the United States Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to work together on “common sense regulations and to develop awareness and education programs to promote acceptance of the new technologies by consumers and global trading partners, ”the National Council of Pork Producers said.

The United States lags behind countries such as Canada, Brazil and China which have established regulatory frameworks conducive to investment in the development of gene editing, said David Herring, Chairman of the Board of the pig and pig farmer from Lillington, North Carolina.

“Today’s Executive Order sets the stage for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture so that we remain the world leader in an economic sector that has balanced America’s trade imbalance for decades. “said Herring.

Unlike traditional genetically modified organisms, in which a gene is added from another organism, gene editing works like the find-and-replace function on a word processor. It finds a gene, then makes changes by modifying or removing it.

Scientists can modify genomes more precisely and faster than ever before, and modified agricultural products could be brought to market faster and more cheaply.

The United States told the World Trade Organization on Friday that it plans to revise its regulations on the import, transport and release of GMOs.

Reporting by Roberta Rampton; Additional reporting by Tom Polansek in Chicago; Written by David Alexander and Mohammad Zargham; Editing by Peter Cooney and Cynthia Osterman


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