President Signs Executive Order to Speed Biotech Development

Published August 6, 2019

President Donald Trump signed an executive order to streamline the process for gaining government approval of genetically modified crops in order to reduce costs and encourage development.

The order will “speed up reviews of biotechnology so that farmers can get access to critical scientific advances faster and reap the full benefits of American innovation for many years into the future,” Trump said in a White House press release.

Modernizing Regulatory Framework

The nation’s biotechnology regulations needed updating, the president stated in his Executive Order on Modernizing the Regulatory Framework for Agricultural Biotechnology Products on June 11.

“Recent advances in biotechnology have the potential to revolutionize agriculture and thereby enhance rural prosperity and improve the quality of American lives,” Trump said in the order. “Biotechnology can help the Nation meet its food production needs, raise the productivity of the American farmer, improve crop and animal characteristics, increase the nutritional value of crop and animal products, and enhance food safety.

“In order to realize these potential benefits, however, the United States must employ a science-based regulatory system that evaluates products based on human health and safety and potential benefits and risks to the environment,” Trump’s order states. “Such a system must both foster public confidence in biotechnology and avoid undue regulatory burdens.”

The White House statement says the order “will help eliminate delays, reduce developer costs, and provide greater certainty about the review process for farmers.”

‘Commonsense Measures’

Genetically modified medications and crops are saving lives now, and biotech innovations could provide more nutritious and plentiful foods in the future if governments don’t quash them with regulations, says E. Calvin Beisner, founder of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

“Genetic modification of crops, fish, and livestock, which mankind has done for thousands of years through traditional cross-breeding techniques and now does with far more predictable results, has already yielded tremendous gains in crop yields, allowing us to feed the growing human population with highly nutritious foods grown on less land with fewer inputs,” Beisner said.

“Commonsense measures to minimize risks from continued innovation are fine, but current regulations create needless obstacles to new developments that could provide badly needed nutrients to hundreds of millions of the poor around the world,” Beisner said.

The Trump administration has been right to eliminate outdated and obsolete federal regulations while updating others and releasing new rules to spur innovation, says Beisner.

“It’s good to see the Trump administration acting to reduce obstacles to innovation while maintaining public safety,” Beisner said.

Chris Talgo ([email protected]) is an editor at The Heartland Institute.