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FDA, USDA, and EPA to Hold Public Sessions on Agricultural Biotechnology
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By Lynn L. Bergeson and Margaret R. Graham

On October 25, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in coordination with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) and OPP, will be holding two public meetings to discuss FDA’s Agricultural Biotechnology Education and Outreach Initiative.  The meetings will be held in Charlotte, North Carolina on November 7, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (EST) and in San Francisco, California on November 14, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (PST).  EPA states that this initiative, which Congress appropriated three million dollars to fund, “calls for FDA to work with EPA and USDA to provide education and outreach to the public on agricultural biotechnology and food and animal feed ingredients derived from biotechnology, and the purpose of the meetings is “to provide the public an opportunity to share information, experiences, and suggestions to help inform the development of this education and outreach initiative.”  FDA issued a notice on these public meetings in the Federal Register on October 13, 2017.  82 Fed. Reg. 47750.  More information on the initiative and how to register for the meetings is available on FDA’s website.  Participation is available in person or by webcast. 

In the notice, FDA also invites comments and responses to the following questions specifically regarding agricultural biotechnology and biotechnology-derived food products and animal feed:

  1. What are the specific topics, questions, or other information that consumers would find most useful, and why?
  2. Currently, how and from where do consumers most often receive information on this subject?
  3. How can FDA (in coordination with USDA) best reach consumers with science-based educational information on this subject?

Comments can be filed in Docket No. FDA-2017-N-5991 on www.regulations.gov; comments are due by November 17, 2017.