Nominee would build ‘civil rights culture’ at USDA

Declaring "there is no place at USDA for discrimination," University of Michigan law professor Margo Schlanger told senators on Wednesday that she would build "a civil rights culture" at the USDA if confirmed as assistant secretary for civil rights. At the same confirmation hearing, Chavonda Jacobs-Young said she would be an advocate for advanced technology, such as gene editing, if confirmed as undersecretary for research.

Prudent regulation, national registry sought for gene-edited products

With gene-edited products nearing the marketplace, six major consumer and conservation groups called on Wednesday for "effective, science-based government regulation" of the sector, including a national registry of gene-edited plants and animals. By contrast, they said, the USDA has "substantially deregulated gene-edited plants and proposed a similarly minimal oversight system for gene-edited animals."

Lawsuit would overturn Trump-era rules on genetically engineered crops

The USDA “unconstitutionally delegated its own duties to protect farmers and the environment to GE crop developers” when it exempted most genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews in 2020, said a coalition of farm, environment and consumer groups in a lawsuit filed on Monday. In it, …

USDA allows more time to discuss regulation of GE animals

The USDA announced an additional 60 days for public comment on a proposal that originated in the final weeks of the Trump administration to put USDA, rather than FDA, in charge of regulating livestock and poultry created through genetic engineering.

New USDA regulation waives review of many biotech plants

Three decades into the agricultural biotechnology era, the USDA said on Thursday that it will exempt genetically engineered plants from pre-market reviews if they are unlikely to pose an environmental risk. Opponents of the move said it means "a majority of genetically engineered and gene-edited plants will now escape any oversight" by the USDA.

Last-ditch fight against CRISPR deregulation in Australia

A government decision to deregulate gene-editing tools such as CRISPR met a last-stop challenge in the Australian Senate, with an organic farmers’ group expressing concerns that it will be “sacrificed for the sake of unregulated GMO tech.”

Rogue GE wheat found in U.S. Northwest for fourth time since 2013

The USDA has never approved cultivation of genetically engineered wheat, yet for the fourth time since April 2013 a wheat strain resistant to the weedkiller glyphosate was found growing wild in the northwestern United States. The discovery could disrupt wheat exports and it raises questions about USDA's ability to police agricultural biotechnology.

USDA would exempt many genetically engineered plants from regulation

In its newest attempt to overhaul biotechnology rules adopted in 1987, the USDA said it would exempt new crop varieties created through techniques such as gene editing from regulatory review, so long as the modifications are similar to those achieved by traditional breeding and pose no plant-pest risks.

USDA tiptoes into cell-based ‘meat ‘ argument

An estimated 40 companies worldwide are in the race to bring to market cell-based meat — "clean meat" in the eyes of proponents and "fake meat" according to ranchers. Asked if the product qualifies as meat, Deputy Agriculture Undersecretary Mindy Brashears responded, "This is something we will be talking about. That is an important priority for us."

EU ruling: Gene editing is the same as ‘classical’ genetic modification

The relatively new field of gene editing is a form of genetic engineering, according to a European Court of Justice ruling that would make technology such as CRISPR subject to the same regulations as the “classical” genetic modification technology of the 1980s, reported BBC News.