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Comments to USDA APHIS Regarding Proposed Changes to Genetically Engineered Plant Regulation

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The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), Environmental Defense Fund, the Consumer Federation of America and the National Wildlife Federation appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) proposed changes to 7 CFR part 340. We support science- and risk-based oversight by USDA of genetically engineered (GE) plants to ensure they are safe to humans and the environment before they are released for cultivation or restoration. Products produced with genetic engineering present both potential benefits and risks for society. If carefully developed, applied and stewarded, they could increase resilience to stresses caused by climate change and other drivers....We support science-based streamlining of the regulatory process to encourage development of these needed innovations; however, the rapid advances in biotechnologies and their resultant products increase the need for effective regulatory oversight that manages potential risks, and for efficient mechanisms that promote transparency and public engagement.