BIO Statement on APHIS Announcement of New Compliance and Enforcement Unit

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 17, 2003) – Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Vice President, Food and Agriculture, Science and Regulatory Policy, Michael J. Phillips today issued the following statement regarding APHIS' announcement of a new, expanded department focused on compliance and enforcement efforts:

"BIO and its members support a science-based regulatory system and enforcement of those rules. We support the creation of APHIS' compliance and enforcement unit to expand enforcement efforts. BIO also endorses APHIS' decision to provide information on industry’s track record in a more transparent manner, as such openness is the foundation for building trust and confidence in the regulatory framework.

"Over the 13-year period outlined by APHIS, industry has a strong history of compliance that exceeds 98 percent – but our goal is to improve upon that and achieve 100 percent. This high compliance rate indicates a strong commitment from industry to regulatory adherence and good corporate stewardship.

"USDA has noted that none of the compliance infractions listed as part of that 13-year track record presented any harm for agriculture, the food supply, or the environment."

BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.