The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Friday released the first regulatory actions regarding genetically engineered crops prepared using a new review process that allows the agency to hasten approval.
The first GE product to complete the new process is a glyphosate-resistant canola from Pioneer.
APHIS posted a notice of its preliminary deregulation in the Federal Register on May 29 for a 30-day review and comment period. Since the review period ended, APHIS has reviewed the comments and approved the nonregulated status on a finding of no significant impact.
Petitions for preliminary deregulation involving three other products – Monsanto's glyphosate-resistant canola, Genective's glyphosate-resistant corn and Monsanto's hybridization system corn – were available for public review in July 2012.
"(Pioneer's canola) was the first GE product to complete our improved regulatory review process, and the 3 others are nearing completion" said Mike Firko, APHIS Acting Deputy Administrator for biotechnology regulatory services.
The new process allows the agency to make a determination of nonregulated status for crops with GE traits that have already been approved in another crop, if the preliminary deregulation petitions were made public.
The agency notes that all previously approved traits have gone through final environmental assessments and plant pest risk assessments with a finding of no significant impact.
"Under the improved process, we met our goal for our review of these petitions after making them available for public comment. We remain focused on providing a more timely and predictable review process while continuing to ensure the safe introduction of genetically engineered crops," Firko said.
The public has 30 days to review these and provide any relevant information to APHIS; unless APHIS learns of new scientific information during this time, its preliminary determinations will become final and APHIS will no longer regulate the field-testing or movement of these four GE plants.
Notice of publication of these actions in the Federal Register, as well as links to the regulatory documents, will be posted to the APHIS website as they become available.