Clements: The USDA Animal Plant Heath and Inspection Service Monday announced the withdrawal of biotech regulations proposed at the end of the Obama administration to get more stakeholder input. AFBF congressional relations director Andrew Walmsley says the move brings an opportunity to improve the rule.
Walmsley: We’re supportive of what USDA did to push pause and make another commitment to engage with stakeholders to improve the rules, to make sure that we have an environment that’s friendly to innovation while also respecting the needs of our international customers before we come to a final resolution on any new regulation going forward.
Clements: Walmsley explains the concerns of the agriculture industry of the now withdrawn proposal.
Walmsley: There were some positives, especially how USDA was viewing new breeding techniques such as genome editing, but there was also some concerns on how traditional biotechnology production practices might be regulated in the future and what that means for innovation and research and development. So, this provided an opportunity to USDA to make sure we’ve got the best regulatory program and policy for new breeding techniques, for biotechnology and innovation in general for agriculture.
Clements: He expects USDA will reveal more information on the plan moving forward later this month.
Walmsley: They’ve got a meeting coming up on November 15, just outside of Washington, D.C. that allows folks to come and visit with the agency and I think they wanted to pull this rule back so they could engage. So, I think that’s the first chance that they can communicate with the public about next steps and next ideas and then we’ll see whatever the process they set forward. But, we expect a public comment period and plenty of opportunity to give that feedback to the agency.
Clements: Micheal Clements, Washington.