USDA APHIS Meeting in Davis, June 13, 2017

USDA MEETING IN DAVIS, JUNE 13

The USDA “APHIS” division will be in Davis to receive comments from folks about new policy and regulations with GMOs.  Please come and make comment if you can.  These dockets are vital. They are equally important to the future of our food as the FDA ruling on “substantial equivalence” was in 1992.  Our kids and grandkids and their grandkids will be dealing with this long after we are gone. 

Basically things are even messier with genetic engineering than they were in 2012.  The new technologies are NOT regulated by the government.  Biotech and poison companies want it to stay that way. If it does, then you’ll be eating genetically engineered plants, animals and who knows what else concoctions made in a lab and they won’t have to be labeled. What’s even more alarming? They won’t have to go through any kind of deregulation process so NO ONE will know where they are!   To find out more about the new technologies go here. 

The meeting is at the University of California, Davis Conference Center, Davis, California.  Hours- from 9AM to noon, with check in starting at 8:30AM  

Please register here if you are going. 

There is a place in the registration for you to indicate if you want to comment there or online to USDA.  The meeting we went to last year only had about 12 of 50+ commenters opposing the usual “totally safe, no regulations needed” talking points.  Please come if you can.

If you cannot go, you can comment here by June 19.  The main takeaways that I got from reading the docket are-   

  • They consider the new techniques to be the exact duplicates of non genetically engineered organisms so USDA  has no need to regulate them in any way
  • They no longer want to regulate the old forms of genetic engineering that use bacteria and viruses as vectors as they are “safe.”
  • They want to make it easier to grow experimental GMOs outside (like pharma crops…oh boy). 
This is why I am trying to impart just how important your comments are.  
The decisions made on this will change GMO History in the USA and impact the world for decades to come. 
 

IF you are really ambitious, the FDA also has two dockets to comment on.  They are basically the same with one for plants, the other animals. They are also due by June 19. 

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FDA-2008-D-0394-0279 for GE animals

https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FDA-2016-N-4389-0274 for GE plants

Talking points from  The Center For Food Safety: 

FDA needs mandatory regulations for all genetically engineered plants and animals, corporate liability, and full health and environmental assessment.

FDA has been failing to protect people and the environment. I believe FDA should: not approve any genetically engineered animals while the GE salmon lawsuit is in process (FDA-2008-D-0394-0279), and draft new, legally binding regulations for all new genetic engineering techniques for plants (FDA–2016–N–4389) and animals.  In order for FDA to be effective, it needs:

  1. Clear definitions of genetic engineering which adhere to the WHO/UN Food and Agriculture Organization’s CODEX definitions of modern biotechnology. Some companies claim that the “modern breeding” techniques are not genetic engineering, but if they fall under the CODEX definition, they must be regulated as genetically engineered (GE).
  2. Moratorium on approvals of GE animals while the GE salmon lawsuit is in process.
  3. Mandatory regulations requiring safety testing for all organisms that are developed using any genetic engineering processes. These should be independent tests that assess and regulate all risks, including long-term food safety risks, and direct and indirect environmental harms such as pesticide use and seed contamination. Instead of assuming GE crops and animals are safe until proven harmful, government agencies should not approve or commercialize GE crops or animals unless proven safe. Safety must be the top priority, not commercialization.
  4. Robust regulations via the food additive process for new GE plant applications. New genetic engineering applications should not go through the ineffective GRAS process. 
  5. Mandatory labeling of food developed through any genetic engineering processes, including so called “gene drives and gene editing”. Polls are clear that Americans want the right to know what is in our food.
  6. Manufacturer liability for manufacturers and biotech companies that make and sell GE crops and animals. Traditional farmers’ rights and seed choice must be protected; therefore contamination of non-GE crops must be prevented, and this must be the responsibility of the biotech companies profiting from the GE seeds. The biotech company that made the contaminating product must be held liable for significant harm and costs from contamination for non-GE farmers.

Until these principles are implemented in mandatory regulations, FDA should halt the approval, commercialization, and release of any new genetically engineered crops and animals.

You can simply sign their petition here, but it really makes much more of an impact if you directly comment and use your own words. 

Thanks, much for making a difference in the world!!


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