Biotech Working Group Discusses the Future of Regulation & Market Acceptance Challenges

Feb 07, 2019

(From left to right): FDA representative Jason Dietz provides the agency's views on the future outlook for regulation around gene editing and biotechnology on a panel discussion that included EPA official Mike Mendelsohn  and USDA - APHIS Associated Administrator Michael Gregoire. ASA President Davie Stephens moderated the discussion.

ASA’s Biotech Working Group recently met in Washington, D.C. to discuss issues impacting the biotech industry and farming. The Biotech Working Group includes representatives from industry biotech trait providers, along with farmer-leaders and staff from ASA, USB and USSEC.

The meeting began with a panel of speakers from USDA, FDA and EPA, providing their perspectives on gene editing and the future of biotech regulation since each of these agencies play a role in the development of these regulations. The speakers on this panel included USDA – Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Associate Administrator Michael Gregoire, EPA’s Chief of Emerging Technologies Branch Mike Mendelsohn, and Policy Analyst for the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition Jason Dietz.

During the next session, Andrew Conner, senior manager of international affairs with the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, provided an update on biotech trait approvals in China. Connor also shared information on a new venture between BIO and the American Seed Trade Association called Innovature. The goal of this project is to highlight progress in agriculture, food and wellness. Through Innovature, the groups strive to explore and contextualize gene editing advancements and promote dialogue and clarity on agriculture innovation under development. More information is available at

USSEC CEO Jim Sutter and Market Access Senior Director Roz Leeck provided a report on international market development activities underway at USSEC. They also shared details on a new document their team developed for tracking the status of biotech approval systems in various soy importing countries. Attendees at the meeting were able to provide input on this document and ask questions related to how the document will be further developed moving forward.

All of the industry representatives in attendance at the meeting shared concerns from their respective organizations regarding future challenges potentially impacting the approval and continued domestic and international market acceptance of specific biotech traits.

The next Biotech Working Group meeting will be held Aug. 5-6, 2019, in Louisville, Ky. For more information on the group, click here.