USDA Announces Proposed Rule Updating Biotechnology Regulations

The USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has released a rule proposal that’s designed to update its biotechnology regulations.

The rule, titled “Movement of Certain Genetically Engineered Organisms,” was formed with what the Trump Administration calls a “balanced approach that continues to protect plant health while allowing agricultural innovation to thrive.” The Hagstrom Report quotes USDA Under Secretary for Marketing and Regulatory Reform Greg Ibach as saying the proposal was guided by the principles of Sustainable, Ecological, Consistent, Uniform, Responsible, and Efficient, or SECURE for short.

An APHIS news release says SECURE is the first significant change to USDA’s biotech regulations since they were first written in 1987. “SECURE would enable APHIS to evaluate genetically engineered organisms for plant pest risk with greater precision than the current rule allows,” said Ibach, “ensuring oversight and risk are based on the best available science.” He says this would be a more common-sense approach to regulation, not only giving farmers more choices in the field but consumers more choices at the grocery store.

The proposed rule is available for public review and comments from now until August fifth.