The call was prompted after developments of emerging technologies to improve animal health and environmental benefits are being delayed by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), who currently holds regulatory authority over gene editing in food-producing animals.
NPPC said emerging applications included making pigs resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious swine disease that costs pork producers billions of dollars every year.
The organisation added that the FDA would treat any gene edited animal as a “living animal drug” and “undermined” US agricultural competitiveness compared to other countries.
“The pace of FDA’s process to develop a regulatory framework for this important innovation only reinforces our belief that the USDA is best equipped to oversee gene editing for livestock production,” said NPPC’s president Jim Heimerl.
“US agriculture is one our nation’s most successful export products; we can’t afford to cede leadership of gene editing to other countries.”
NPPC’S director of science and technology Dan Kovich advocated for USDA oversight of gene editing yesterday (21 February) during the Agricultural Outlook Forum, which was moderated by USDA’s secretary Greg Ibach.
“In addition to dramatic animal health gains and reduced financial risk for farmers, gene editing’s promise includes less need to use antibiotics to care for livestock and reduced environmental impact from more efficient farm operations,” said Kovich.
During GlobalMeatNews’ visit to Atlanta, Georgia for the IPPE show last week, the North American Meat Institute’s (NAMI) senior vice president for regulatory and scientific affairs Mark Dopps echoed the NPPC’s view for USDA to have primary jurisdiction, but in this care for plant-based protein products rather than the FDA.