The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) is urging the Department of Agriculture to assume regulatory oversight of gene editing for livestock. The call from NPPC follows the slow pace of developing a regulatory framework at the Food and Drug Administration.
NPPC says the process is “stalled” at FDA, and that “USDA is best equipped to oversee gene editing for livestock production” according to NPPC President Jim Heimerl. NPPC says gene editing accelerates genetic improvements that could be realized over long periods of time through breeding.
For example, it allows for simple changes in a pig’s native genetic structure without introducing genes from another species.
Emerging applications for the pork industry include raising pigs resistant to Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome, a highly contagious swine disease that causes significant animal suffering and costs pork producers worldwide billions of dollars.
Despite no statutory requirement, the FDA currently holds regulatory authority over gene editing in food-producing animals.
Source: National Association of Farm Broadcasters