In the News
Sunshine State News By Kevin Derby
From his perch on the U.S. House Agriculture Committee, U.S. Rep. Neal Dunn, R-Fla., led efforts to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to team up to work on advancing biotechnology.
Dunn paired up with U.S. Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., to round up almost 80 fellow members of the House to sign a letter to USDA Sec. Sonny Perdue, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on the matter.
The two congressmen urged the Interagency Taskforce on Agriculture and Rural Prosperity “to take into consideration the importance of a consistent, science-based, risk-proportionate regulatory system that enjoys the confidence of trading partners and consumers alike” and cut back on duplicated regulations The congressmen pointed to the USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) revising its Part 340 biotechnology regulations while the FDA pushed a guidance for industry (GFI) calling for regulating “any animal intentionally altered using gene editing techniques as a ‘new animal drug.'"
The congressmen insisted these proposals conflict and can impact gene editing and other biotechnology advancements.
“Once again, the federal government is hindering good science with red tape," Dunn said. “As a doctor, I want to ensure that any regulatory decisions we make concerning the agriculture industry are purely science-based. Having the ability to carry out gene editing will reduce the cost of growing food and make wholesome nutritional products abundant and affordable for consumers.
“The United States is leading the world in agricultural biotechnology, and will continue to lead, if we compliment the research with a modern regulatory system that promotes innovation and enjoys the confidence of trading partners and consumers alike,” Dunn added.
“Improved coordination between these government agencies will benefit consumers and producers alike,” said Panetta. “As the representative of the Salad Bowl of the World, I understand that the competitiveness of our region’s and country’s agriculture industry depends on continued federal investments in transformative tools like biotechnology. That is why I am proud to join Congressman Dunn in a bipartisan effort to ensure that our nation’s biotechnology policies are not only consistent, but continue to foster innovation.”
The two congressmen rounded up some prominent representatives including U.S. Rep. Michael Conaway, R-Texas, the chairman of the House Agriculture Committee ,and U.S. Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., the ranking Democrat on that committee.