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BIO Submits Comments Re: USDA-APHIS Changes to Requirements for Field Testing Regulated Genetically Engineered Wheat

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The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is pleased to submit these comments in&nbsp;response to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) notice requesting&nbsp;public input on proposed changes to requirements for field testing of regulated genetically&nbsp;engineered (GE) wheat (Notice). BIO is the world&#39;s largest trade association, representing&nbsp;more than 950 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers&nbsp;and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO&nbsp;members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural,&nbsp;industrial and environmental biotechnology products, and BIO represents the majority of&nbsp;the biotechnology product developers in North America, including companies conducting&nbsp;field trials of GE wheat.</p>

The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) is pleased to submit these comments in response to the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) notice requesting public input on proposed changes to requirements for field testing of regulated genetically engineered (GE) wheat (Notice). BIO is the world's largest trade association, representing more than 950 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products, and BIO represents the majority of the biotechnology product developers in North America, including companies conducting field trials of GE wheat.

Research on GE wheat in the United States is thriving, and being conducted by a wide array of large and small businesses, public institutions, and academic scientists. While no varieties of GE wheat have been commercialized in the United States, wheat growers have expressed an eagerness to benefit from the same kinds of advanced crop varieties benefitting other major crops in the U.S.; biotechnology is seen as a significant component in the competitiveness of the wheat industry.1 It is critically important that APHIS oversight of GE wheat field trials be appropriate to the level of risk posed by such research, and that regulatory burdens imposed by the agency do not unnecessarily impede the development of new products. BIO respectfully submits that the proposed change described in the Notice fails to meet these standards. Moreover, BIO submits that there are legal and procedural flaws in the proposed action that could frustrate the agency’s legitimate interests in this area.

See the full comment letter here.