OSGATA Comments on Biotechnology Regulations

Current regulation of biotechnology does not adequately protect farmers, the general public, and the environment from the potential adverse effects of GE crops. However, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is currently revisiting its biotechnology regulations, from over a decade ago, and calling for public comment. Join OSGATA in this opportunity to demand stronger regulations and oversight, and submit written comments by June 22, 2015. Comments can be submitted electronically here.

OSGATA made the following recommendations to APHIS:


1.  Regulate Biotechnology Based on Process. Regulating based on process, rather than end-product, would significantly improve consistency and transparency. Furthermore, applicants of products must not have the authority to decide whether or not their product is subject to regulation.

2. Implement Stronger Field Trial Oversight.  APHIS needs to ensure full traceability of all GE research trials, whether private industry or university funded. This information should be available for public review.

3. Oversee & Regulate GE Crop Production Throughout Plant’s Entire Life Cycle. Oversight and regulation of all GE crop production systems needs to be throughout the crop’s entire life cycle, continuing post-commercialization.

4.  Share the Duty of Maintaining Seeds Free of Contamination. New regulation should mandate contamination prevention best practices for those that benefit from the growth of GE crops to prevent GE contamination within the organic and non-GE sectors.

5. Attach the Responsibility of GE Contamination to Ownership. The responsibility for prevention of contamination from GE seeds and crops lies with the patent holder. Regardless of the expiration terms of patents, the GE manufacturer should be held responsible for all resulting GE contamination.    

6. Compensate Contaminated Farmers Fairly. Farmers should not bear the responsibility, nor be held liable– financially or legally– for keeping unwanted GE pollen drift, seeds, or plant material out of their fields. Individual organic seed farmers, as well as organic seed companies, should not be hampered by the cost of GE contamination avoidance, including seed purity testing. Instead, according to polluter-pays principle, all seed purity tests and costs of valuable seed lost to testing, and other economic losses incurred through contamination mitigation strategies should be paid by the polluting biotechnology industry. Additionally, farmers face other losses from the use of GE crops that are not being considered, i.e. the loss of pollinators and beneficial insects due to use of herbicides and pesticides, such as neonicotinoids. These losses should be assessed and remedied.


Read OSGATA’s complete comments here.      









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