Nobel Prize Serves Notice: The U.S. is Falling Behind

October 7, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 7, 2020 – For more than two years, by claiming regulatory jurisdiction over gene edited livestock, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has stalled the development of an emerging technology with tremendous promise for livestock agriculture, including improved animal care, production efficiency and environmental impact. Today, the scientists who invented one of the most promising forms of this technology – the “CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors” – were awarded the Nobel Prize. The following statement may be attributed to Howard “A.V.” Roth, president of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) and a hog farmer from Wauzeka, Wisconsin.

“The National Pork Producers Council has repeatedly called for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to be granted regulatory oversight of gene edited livestock. The USDA has the right experience and an established regulatory framework for gene edited plants that can easily be extended to livestock. 

“The FDA’s regulatory land grab has caused American agriculture to fall behind in the global race to develop this technology as countries, such as China, continue to advance its development. The FDA’s proposed regulatory framework is unjustifiably cumbersome, slow and prohibitively expensive. Today’s Nobel Prize award serves notice: If we don’t move oversight of gene edited livestock to the USDA, we will have ceded this promising technology to global competitors at the expense of American jobs and our nation’s global agricultural leadership position.” 

Gene editing accelerates genetic improvement that would occur naturally over time by making changes to an animal’s own genome. For additional information, please visit NPPC’s Keep America First in Agriculture web site.

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NPPC is the global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 60,000 pork producers, who abide by ethical principles in caring for their animals, in protecting the environment and public health and in providing safe, wholesome, nutritious pork products to consumers worldwide. For more information, visit www.nppc.org.