Policy Update: USDA Releases Revised Rule on Genetically Engineered Plants Amid Overhaul of Biotechnology Regulations

On May 18, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) released the final version of the agency’s update to the Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology (Coordinated Framework). APHIS initially released a proposed rule in 2019, but withdrew it following significant stakeholder comments. This revision, called the Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, Efficient (SECURE) rule, pertains to the importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of genetically engineered organisms under the Plant Protection Act (PL 106-224). USDA is one of three agencies party to the Coordinated Framework, alongside the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

While the current statute explicitly lists taxa that should be considered plant pests, the revised rule represents a new approach to biotechnology regulation guided by an emphasis on risk as opposed to process, with APHIS choosing to exempt products that could have been created through conventional or traditional breeding.

Read the full brief to learn more about the timeline and additional information: Policy Update.

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