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Executive Order to Expedite Approval of GM Cultivars

06/19/2019

President Trump has issued an order to Federal agencies to expedite approval of genetically modified crops. This is especially important given the growing availability and application of gene deletion technology applying CRISPR-cas9. The order is directed to the USDA, the FDA and the EPA to remove unnecessary barriers and to approve gene-editing technology. The White House has also called for promotional activities to increase public acceptance of genetically engineered foods. The office of the U.S. Trade Representative will also actively work to remove unjustified trade barriers based on GM technology.

EGG-NEWS has frequently commented that although government agencies exert considerable pressure on applicants requesting licenses to demonstrate safety of novel food and agricultural technology they do little to promote the inherent qualities of GM foods. For two decades, opponents of GMO have used social media to spread disinformation concerning the safety of genetically engineered food ingredients. The Executive Order also incorporates a provision for Federal agencies to develop and maintain websites to serve as a reference for developers of GM seeds.

The magnitude of the problem relating to registration is noted in an article by Jacob Bunge in the June 13th edition of The Wall Street Journal stating that “Even avowed opponents of biotechnology including the Center for Science in the Public Interest accept that registration of GM products is cumbersome and time consuming”. Greg Jaffe of the Organization questioned whether the Executive Order was “just about streamlining or is about deregulating and exempting products from registration”.