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U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement on July 27 regarding this week’s European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling on newer mutagenesis methods, otherwise known as genome editing.

“Government policies should encourage scientific innovation without creating unnecessary barriers or unjustifiably stigmatizing new technologies. Unfortunately, this week’s ECJ ruling is a setback in this regard in that it narrowly considers newer genome editing methods to be within the scope of the European Union’s regressive and outdated regulations governing genetically modified organisms.

"We encourage the European Union to seek input from the scientific and agricultural communities, as well as its trading partners, in determining the appropriate implementation of the ruling.

Innovations in precision biotechnology, such as genome editing, hold great promise. For consumers, potential benefits include healthier, higher-quality foods at affordable prices. For farmers, they include improvements in productivity, plant and animal health, and environmental sustainability.

"The global regulatory treatment of genome-edited agricultural products has strategic innovation and trade implications for U.S. agriculture. For this reason, USDA has clear science- and risk-based policies that enable needed innovation while continuing to ensure these products are safe. In light of the ECJ ruling, USDA will re-double its efforts to work with partners globally towards science- and risk-based regulatory approaches.”

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