In testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee, Under Secretary of Agriculture Greg Ibach suggested that genetically modified organisms (GMOs) could potentially be used in the production of organic foods eventually. “As the National Organic Standards Board set the rules originally, right now GMO or transgenics are not eligible to be in the Organic Program, but we’ve seen new technology evolve that includes gene editing that accomplishes things in shorter periods of time that can be done through a natural breeding process,” Ibach stated. “I think there is the opportunity to open the discussion to consider whether it is appropriate for some of these new technologies that include gene editing to be eligible to be used to enhance organic production and to have resistant varieties—drought-resistant, disease-resistant varieties as well as higher-yielding varieties—available.”

Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) released guidance on how human dietary exposure to newly expressed proteins in GMO foods should be estimated. The guidance aims to assist applicants aiming for approval of GMO products; EFSA asks applicants “to estimate, by appropriate methods, the concentrations of newly expressed proteins, other new constituents and endogenous food and feed constituents, of which the levels have been altered as a result of the genetic modification.”

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