White House Orders Review of GMO Regulations

On Thursday, July 2nd, 2015, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) ordered a review the regulatory policies for biotechnology products. ASPB welcomes this opportunity to engage both OSTP and the relevant federal agencies. The administration’s efforts, which will cover both agricultural and biomedical products, will seek to improve public confidence in the regulatory system and remove barriers to innovation, while continuing to protect public health and the environment.

The process will consist of the following three components:White house

  1. an update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology;
  2. the development of a long-term strategy to ensure that the federal regulatory system is well-equipped to assess efficiently any risks and benefits associated with the future products of biotechnology; and
  3. a National Academies analysis of the future landscape of the products of biotechnology.

As you may recall, last year the Society released a position statement on plant genetic engineering, which was shared with the White House, urging federal agencies to review and update the Coordinated Framework. ASPB’s statement also recommends a broad intellectual framework for the regulation of the products of ag biotechnology: “ASPB… supports the continued use and further development of appropriate, science-based procedures and regulations to assess the risks and benefits of all new agricultural technologies and products, including those developed using genetic engineering.” It is reassuring, therefore, to see that the guidance provided by the administration to the federal agencies echoes this language, calling for “high standards that are based on the best available science.”

ASPB is already communicating with staff at the White House and the National Academies on this matter, and we will remain actively engaged to encourage the development of regulatory policies that focus upon products rather than the methods by which those products are generated. Although this effort will be ongoing, we encourage you to share your thoughts and questions with us below so we can best represent the perspectives of our membership.

3 thoughts on “White House Orders Review of GMO Regulations

  1. It is my hope that ‘genome editing’ will be considered in the same light as standard and historic methods of mutational engineering (whether undirected or intentional) that has been the basis for so much crop improvement in the past. ‘In the same light’ is obviously a conservative position on genome editing, since far fewer mutations are introduced, but this seems the safer approach in terms of marketing the concept (i.e. meet the new boss same as the old boss).

  2. For SURE all foodstuffs made by or from GMO’s must be labeled as such, and the nature of the GM explicitly stated. The public can then decide whether the food is “safe”. But the facts must not be hidden. Bottom line should carry NO weight in this matter. GM antibiotics, such as glyphosate, are at least as dangerous in promiscuous use as conventional antibiotics are. And glyphosate in particular should be prohibited from general use. The world can do without glyphosate resistant maize and other foodstuffs.

  3. ASPB should also encourage to take up the issue of CRISPR mediated genome editing. It may be worthwhile to pursue a separate policy other than GMO label when CRISPR is used to edit a genome.

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