Biotechnology regulation sees updates

Gwinnett Technical College BioScience Laboratory faculty and students work in the Bioscience Laboratory at Gwinnett Technical College in Lawrenceville, GA on Friday, Mar. 20, 2015. Faculty and students are studying the kinetics (properties) of the enzyme tyrosinase (ty-rose’-n-ase) that is being isolated from potatoes.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the biotechnology world.

Not only has the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) proposed new biotechnology regulations, but President Donald Trump has signed an Executive Order modernizing regulation for biotechnology products.

APHIS proposed a rule on June 6 titled, “Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms,” called SECURE for short, to stand for the following principles: Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform and Responsible.

This proposal will modernize biotechnology regulations and allow innovation to thrive, according to an official APHIS statement.

SECURE would be the first revision to USDA biotechnology regulations since first established in 1987. The proposal is “designed to have sufficient regulatory flexibility for advances in genetic engineering and our understanding of the plant pest risk posed by them”.

A commenting period will be open until Aug. 5 and comments may be submitted to the Federal Register by using docket number APHIS-2018-0034.

More recently, President Trump signed an Executive Order on June 11 to streamline biotechnology regulations to “facilitate the innovation of agricultural biotechnology to the market efficiently, consistently, and safely under a predictable, consistent, transparent, and science-based regulatory framework,” according to an official USDA statement.

The order includes conducting public education and outreach on agricultural biotechnology, increasing international acceptance of agricultural biotechnology products, and developing science-based regulations with transparency and fair notice to the public. WLJ

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