Crop Biotech Update

US Observes National Biotech Month, Launches Joint USDA-FDA-EPA Website for Biotech Regulation

January 15, 2020

The White House released its official statement on the first day of the year 2020 to mark the observance of the National Biotech Month in the United States (US) and to show support to biotech stakeholders and developers. Within two weeks, the US also launched a unified website for biotechnology regulation as part of the US Administration's Executive Order on Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products.

In the statement, the US emphasized the importance of biotechnology, citing how it has helped develop new ways to treat cancer, produce medicines, generate plastics, and provide tools to farmers to improve their crops which, in turn, help feed, fuel and clothe the growing global population. The biotechnology industry was also said to have improved lives through its substantial economic contribution. The current US Administration has announced that it will continue to reduce unnecessary regulations, improve accessibility to the market place, and strengthen global competitiveness.

Following this announcement, a unified website for biotechnology regulation was launched a week later with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) all jointly and actively participating. The website is based on the US Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology which was published by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy in 1986 and is continuously updated to suit the advances of the biotechnology field. The Framework, according to the website, initially sought to protect health and the environment without impeding innovation.

After several updates, one as recent as 2017, the US Coordinated Framework for Biotechnology Products aims to "ensure public confidence in the regulatory system, while at the same time improving transparency, predictability, coordination, and efficiency of the biotech regulatory system." The three agencies cooperatively employ a rational, scientific evaluation of biotech products such as plants, animals, and microorganisms in an integrated and coordinated manner.

The website's goals are to provide innovators and developers enhanced customer service while making sure that US citizens have access to safe and affordable global food supply. The website also offers information about the safe use of biotechnology innovations. Moreover, it offers a detailed description of the USDA's, FDA's and EPA's roles in overseeing agricultural biotechnology products. Previously passed laws, regulations, and guidelines related to biotechnology can also be viewed for free.

The official full statement about the National Biotechnology Month is made available by the White House. Visit the Unified Website for Biotechnology Regulation to read more about its roles and the services it offers.

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