WASHINGTON — The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced on Jan. 19 a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding oversight of genetically engineered agriculture animals.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue lauded the agreement for ensuring fairness for US producers.

“Today’s Memorandum of Understanding clears a path to bring our regulatory framework into the 21st century, putting American producers on a level playing field with their competitors around the world,” Perdue said. “In the past, regulations stifled innovation, causing American businesses to play catch-up and cede market share. America has the safest and most affordable food supply in the entire world thanks to the innovation of our farmers, ranchers and producers. Establishing a new, transparent, risk and science-based regulatory framework would ensure this continues to be the case.”

Following the approval of the GalSafe hogs in December 2020 by the FDA, the USDA has been pushing for oversight of gene-edited livestock.

Later in December, Perdue said would be moving forward with an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPR) to ask for public input and feedback on framework for the recommended change.

Last week, the National Pork Producers Producer Council (NPPC) stated its support for the USDA’s oversight of gene-editing in the future instead of the FDA.