EPA Proposes Streamlined Biotech Approvals for Crops

A proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency would streamline the regulation of certain plant-incorporated protectants. The proposal allows biotech crops containing pesticide traits to be exempt from select regulations if they meet certain reporting requirements. Specifically, the EPA proposes exemptions under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act and the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for certain plant-incorporated protectants created through biotechnology. The Agency has preliminarily determined that these substances meeting the exemption criteria have no risks of concern to humans or the environment. Under the proposed exemption, the EPA would require developers of the biotech crops to submit either a self-determination letter or a request for the EPA confirmation that their product meets the exemption criteria. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler says the new rule “will provide critical new tools for America’s farmers as they work to increase agricultural productivity.” The proposal is part of President Donald Trump’s Executive Order on Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products.