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BIO Proposes Greater Public Access to Information on New Agricultural Biotechnology Products

August 5, 2019
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Washington, D.C. (August 5, 2019) – The Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO) today put forward a consumer-friendly proposal that would improve public access to information about new agricultural biotechnology products. Combined with a new science-based regulatory approach, BIO’s proposal will foster greater public confidence and support bringing new sustainable agricultural solutions to the market.

In comments on the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed revisions to its biotechnology regulations (Part 340), BIO strongly encourages USDA to require developers to notify the agency of their intent to market new plants produced through biotechnology—such as gene editing—even if the plant is similar to conventionally bred plants and does not require pre-market review by USDA under the agency’s new science-based regulatory approach. The notification would then be posted online and available to the public.

BIO President and CEO Jim Greenwood released the following statement on BIO’s submitted comments:

“BIO’s comments send a strong signal that we are listening to calls by consumers for greater access to information about how their food is produced. BIO’s member companies are excited about harnessing the potential of biology-based innovation to create sustainable agricultural products that can mitigate climate change, combat hunger, reduce food waste, and improve health, and we welcome public dialogue about these efforts.

“Although all food is regulated for safety, BIO understands that consumers want to know information about gene-edited and other biotech food products, and our members want to be the driver of that endeavor. Science-based regulation and public support must co-exist if we are to energize understanding, build trust, and foster an environment where technology, companies, and consumers together can address our most pressing societal and environmental problems.

“We thank USDA for recognizing the long history of scientific safety associated with agricultural biotechnology and appreciate the Trump administration for revising USDA’s pre-market regulatory process in light of such history—a risk-based initiative that began at the end of the Obama administration. This bipartisan acknowledgment of the need to improve predictability and modernize oversight will help drive investment, innovation, and small business success across America.”

Click here to read and access a searchable PDF of BIO’s comments to USDA.

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