Jan 23, 2017
ASTA welcomes USDA plant breeding policy

USDA released for pre-publication a proposed rule-making notice related to plant breeding innovation. The American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) has been actively engaged in discussions with the agency throughout the rule-making process. The association is pleased that the proposal recognizes plant breeders’ long track record of safety and quality, according to an ASTA statement.

ASTA’s overarching policy is that plant varieties developed through the latest breeding methods should not be differentially regulated if they are similar to or indistinguishable from varieties that could have been produced through earlier breeding methods.

“We’re pleased that USDA’s proposal 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,”said ASTA President & CEO Andy LaVigne. “While we’re still reviewing the proposal in detail, this approach will help ensure that U.S. agriculture remains at the forefront of innovation and maintains its leadership role globally.”

All foods derived from plants are regulated in the U.S. by the FDA, and seeds are comprehensively regulated by USDA. In tandem with USDA’s proposal, FDA has announced plans to solicit comments on new plant varieties developed through gene editing techniques. Consistent with its 1992 policy, FDA acknowledges in its Request for Information that some applications of gene editing result in plants that could be developed through more traditional breeding methods. ASTA encourages FDA to closely coordinate its activities with USDA to ensure a consistent, clear and science-based policy approach across the U.S. government. It’s also critical that both agencies actively engage with our trading partners around the world as the rulemaking process moves forward.

Source: American Seed Trade Association


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