USDA report highlights harms of seed consolidation
A new report released earlier this month by the U.S. Department of Agriculture finds that seed industry consolidation and restrictive intellectual property regimes are stifling small, independent, and public seed breeding programs. No paywall
‘Golden rice’ production to expand in the Philippines
Farmers in the Philippine province of Antique reaped 67 tonnes of so-called golden rice from 17 fields in the first "substantial" harvest of the GMO variety that contains beta-carotene, which is used by the body to create vitamin A. Cultivation will expand to an additional 17 provinces in the next step of development and testing of the rice, said ETH Zurich, a science and technology university in Switzerland and a financial backer of golden rice, on Monday.
Genetic engineering is the future of agriculture, scientists tell lawmakers
The United States must modernize its regulation of agricultural biotechnology, especially in livestock, to reap the benefits of genetic engineering editing and to lead the world in breakthroughs of food production, said a panel of scientists on Tuesday. Joined by some farm-state lawmakers, panelists said the FDA and USDA should share duties in regulation of GE plants and animals.
Over FDA objections, Trump administration says USDA can regulate GE livestock
The Trump administration, in a move sought by the hog industry, pushed through an interdepartmental memorandum before leaving office that allows the USDA to regulate food-bearing GE livestock. FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn publicly objected on Tuesday and said his agency "has no intention of abdicating our public health mandate" over animal biotechnology.
A bid for the USDA, not FDA, to regulate GE animals for food
In a move celebrated by the hog industry, the Trump administration proposed on Monday to put the USDA in charge of regulating genetically engineered livestock and poultry, a duty now performed by the FDA. The Biden administration would make the final decision on the transfer of power since it will take office before the end of the 60-day comment period on the proposal.
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.
Balance safety, innovation in gene-edited animals, says FDA chief
Gene editing has enormous potential to improve health and food production, but innovation must be governed by well-rooted standards of safety and effectiveness, said FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn. "The agency is a trusted global regulator and we are committed to overseeing this space in a manner that fosters innovation, protects consumer confidence and protects the public health."
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.”
Ibach: Gene editing might fit in organic agriculture
The USDA official overseeing organic agriculture said the sector, which rejects GMO crops along with the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, might benefit from gene-edited varieties. “There is the opportunity to open the discussion,” said Agriculture Undersecretary Greg Ibach.
Put USDA in charge of gene-edited livestock, says hog industry
The U.S. hog industry is going to the White House in its campaign for the USDA to supplant FDA as the federal regulator of gene-edited food animals, leaders said on Tuesday. The industry says American preeminence in science and agricultural exports will suffer if gene-edited advances such as …
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.
Genetic editing comes to aquaculture
Research into infectious salmon anemia could provide the pathway for genetic editing in aquaculture, says Undercurrent News. The chief executive of Benchmark Holdings told the site that genetic editing is a logical next step following a multiyear study to map the genome of salmon.
Debating the differences between gene-edited crops, GMOs, ‘accelerated breeding technology’
Thomas Stoddard used this pitch — “You make a little more money, you have a great experience, and you are part of a revolution” — when he recruited farmers to plant a gene-edited soybean variety that yields a healthier oil, says the MIT Technology Review.
USDA will try again on update of biotechnology regulations
For the third time in a decade, the USDA is starting anew on modernizing its regulation of biotech plants. As part of the effort, the agency ditched a proposal that would have covered genome-editing techniques if the products created posed a plant pest or noxious weed risk.
Dicamba blamed for damage to oak trees in Midwest and South
State officials in Illinois, Iowa and Tennessee have received hundreds of complaints blaming the weedkiller dicamba for damage to oak trees this summer, says the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting (MCIR). Usage of dicamba — and complaints of crop damage — has increased with the release of soybean and cotton varieties genetically modified to tolerate doses of the chemical.
Lawsuit calls for USDA to release study on QR codes and GMO food labeling
The anti-GMO group Center for Food Safety filed suit against the USDA to force release of a study on the impact of using digital disclosures such as QR codes to identify foods made with GMO ingredients. "In the United States, there has never been a food labeling requirement met by QR codes," says the center, which prefers a written label on food packages.
AquaBounty notches first sale of its GMO salmon
In a transaction that was 25 years in the making, U.S.-based AquaBounty Technologies announced the sale of 10,000 pounds of its GMO salmon to customers in Canada, meaning "genetically engineered salmon has reached the dinner plate," says the journal Nature. "This is the first time that a genetically engineered animal has been sold for food on the open market."
Foes call for New York to review GE moth okayed by USDA
The USDA has approved the first open-air trial of a genetically modified non-sterile insect, male diamondback moths that pass along a gene during mating that prevents female offspring from reaching adulthood. The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York said it "believes in the strongest terms that this action should trigger a full environmental review" by state officials, rather than a rubber-stamp approval.
Canadian province approves AquaBounty plan to raise GE salmon on land
The Prince Edward Island environment minister approved a proposal by AquaBounty, the developer of a genetically engineered salmon, to produce 250 tonnes a year of the fish at Rollo Bay West, on the northeastern shore of the province, reported the CBC.