On Thursday, March 28, 2018 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a statement on USDA’s stance on new breeding techniques including genome editing. According to the statement USDA “does not regulate or have any plans to regulate plants that could otherwise have been developed through traditional breeding techniques as long as they are not plant pests or developed using plant pests. This includes a set of new techniques that are increasingly being used by plant breeders to produce new plant varieties that are indistinguishable from those developed through traditional breeding methods.”
NAEGA is currently working with partners, including the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) to respond to this decision and encourage USDA to exert strong and effective leadership in interacting with governmental authorities in other countries to urge adoption of science- and risk-based approaches to the regulatory treatment of plant breeding innovation so there is not a recurrence of the significant and costly international trade disruptions that occurred with some transgenic biotech traits. These efforts should be done in coordination with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under the coordinated regulatory framework.