IDFA joined with 11 food and agriculture organizations in filing comments on August 6, urging USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to ensure transparency as it revises the current regulatory approval process for certain gene edited crops. APHIS sought public comment on proposed regulations aimed at streamlining the approval process for biotechnology innovations, including exemptions for certain genetic modifications, such as gene editing, that could be achieved through traditional breeding.

While supporting the use of these technologies, IDFA and other associations representing a broad cross section of the U.S. food and agriculture value chain cautioned APHIS that the proposed exemptions would eliminate any APHIS regulatory oversight or notification of the movement of certain gene edited crops. The comments also raised concerns that the lack of transparency could create asymmetrical trade approvals.

“Looking toward the future of biotechnology, dairy companies understand that consumers want to know more about what is in their food, not less,” said Danielle Quist, IDFA senior director, regulatory affairs and counsel. “As the use of gene editing and other new biotechnologies becomes more prevalent, it is important that consumers have confidence in APHIS and its regulation of new biotechnologies.”