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Modernized Biotech Regulation Will Unleash Greater Innovation

Consumer transparency measures remain important

May 14, 2020
Media Contact
Karen Batra
202.449.6382

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released today a modernized, science-based regulatory system for plant biotechnology aimed at maintaining oversight while driving innovation. Now government and industry must do more to build an informed and trust-based dialogue about biotechnology innovation in food and agriculture and its potential to achieve greater outcomes for the planet, our food system and human well-being, says the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO).          

While BIO is still reviewing the details of the final rule, the following statement may be attributed to Dana O’Brien, executive vice president of BIO’s food & agriculture section:

“Biotechnology is key to building more resilient food and farming systems. The COVID-19 crisis shows us the fragility of these systems and shines a bright light on the essential role of biology and technology in our lives. The rule released by USDA today will accelerate the development of innovations that will improve lives globally.

“BIO is pleased that USDA’s updated regulatory approach builds on decades of scientific knowledge about biotechnology in food and agriculture. It holds great promise to enhance investment and product development by small and mid-sized companies in particular.

“Innovation flourishes when science and consumer values are aligned and complement one another. The U.S. government’s regulatory approach cannot exist in isolation. It should be supported by credible transparency measures. BIO understands that consumers want more information about what is in their food and whether their food is safe. Our members will be a driver of that endeavor.”

During the public comment period, BIO advocated for a process to improve public access to information about new agricultural biotechnology products. While the final rule does not contain a mechanism for mandatory notification, BIO encourages increased openness about products entering the marketplace and best practices developers use in advancing beneficial products to the commercial marketplace.

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