Today, Congressman Jim Baird (IN-04) and Congressman Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) introduced an amendment to the Agriculture, Rural Development, and FDA appropriations bill that directs the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to modernize its regulatory process for new products produced through techniques like gene editing.
"As America's researchers continue to develop innovative products, it's critical that they have a clear, coordinated, and predictable pathway to the marketplace," said Congressman Baird. "I'm proud to work with Congressman Panetta to modernize the FDA's existing regulatory process so that onerous red tape does not stifle innovation, particularly at this time of high food prices."
"The FDA has stalled on issuing plant gene editing guidance for too long, creating uncertainty for a promising industry that bolsters food security and reduces waste," said Congressman Panetta. "My bipartisan amendment with Rep. Baird will equip the FDA with the resources and staff they need to modernize its plant biotech consultation program. These technologies can be used to develop drought and climate change resilient crops that stay fresh longer, meriting this federal investment in the 2023 appropriations package."
New gene editing technologies have the potential to help food producers mitigate climate change, reduce risks of food allergies, and minimize food waste, but regulatory uncertainty has created a challenging environment for producers of these new technologies. This amendment provides direction to the FDA to help conduct a review and update of its regulatory pathways for biotechnology products. It emphasizes the importance of the FDA hiring additional staff to support the issuance guidance for industry on foods derived from plants produced using genome editing and to modernize and improve timelines and predictability of the Plant Biotechnology Consultation Program.