ASTA recently submitted comments in reference to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s (APHIS) proposed revisions to Part 340.
ASTA commended the agency for setting a goal of improving its regulatory system for genetically engineered organisms and for using its long experience in regulating these organisms as a basis for making these improvements. USDA’s proposal rightly recognizes that some applications of gene editing result in plant varieties that are essentially equivalent to varieties developed through more traditional breeding methods, and treats these varieties accordingly in the proposal. ASTA supports excluding these categories of products through the definition of genetically engineered organism.
However, ASTA expressed significant concerns with other aspects of the proposal, notably the proposed “up front” regulatory status evaluation and the incorporation of USDA’S noxious weed authorities into 7 CFR 340. Because of these concerns, ASTA does not support USDA moving directly to a final rule from this proposal.
ASTA also submitted comments and supporting documentation in response to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) request for information on genome editing in plants. View them here. The association encourages the U.S. Government to take a leadership position and actively engage with other governments, particularly among our trading partners, with the goal of working toward internationally consistent, science-based policies.