The National Pork Producers Council applauded President Trump for signing an executive order to streamline regulations for agriculture biotechnology.
“Agriculture is one of the crown jewels of the U.S. economy,” says David Herring, NPPC president and a pork producer from Lillington, N.C. “Today's executive order paves the way for common sense regulation to keep America first in agriculture so that we remain the global leader in an economic sector that has offset the U.S. trade imbalance for decades and that is so critical for the prosperity of our rural communities.”
The executive order provides a framework to support leadership in emerging technologies such as gene editing for livestock, an innovation that promises to eliminate costly diseases that cause animal suffering, lower the need to use antibiotics and to further reduce agriculture's environmental impact. The EO directs the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to collaborate on common sense regulations and to develop awareness and education programs to gain acceptance of new technologies by consumers and global trading partners.
“The United States is falling behind countries such as Canada, Brazil and China that have established regulatory frameworks conducive to investment in the development of gene editing,” says Herring. “We are hopeful that this executive order breaks the FDA's current grip on gene editing so a regulatory framework can be established at the USDA to ensure that American farmers – not our competitors in foreign markets – realize its vast potential.”
The FDA continues to advance a regulatory framework for gene edited livestock that runs counter to today's executive order. Despite no statutory requirement, the FDA currently holds regulatory authority over gene editing in food-producing animals. FDA oversight will treat any gene edited animal as a living animal drug – and every farm raising them a drug manufacturing facility – undermining U.S. agricultural competitiveness relative to other countries with more progressive gene editing regulatory policies.
NPPC will launch a new campaign, Keep America First in Agriculture, later this month to broaden awareness and understanding of gene editing's promise for livestock agriculture.