Public interest in genetically modified (GMO) crop approvals and legal challenges to those approvals, along with increasing demand for more organic foods, is leading the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to…speed up the approval process for more genetically modified crops, according to Bloomberg News. See UN Report: GMOs Can’t Feed the World
In an interview with the news service, USDA deputy administrator Michael Gregoire said that the agency wants to cut in half the time it takes for Monsanto, Dow AgroSciences, and other chemical and seed companies to get their genetically modified crops to market, from the current average of three years to just 18 months. Some crops could be approved in little over a year from the time the application is submitted.
The USDA actually announced these changes last November, but hasn’t made them available for public comment yet. According to Bloomberg, the agency plans to fast-track approvals by inviting public comment earlier in the approval process, rather than at the end, as is currently the case. That will, supposedly, allow the USDA to “address any concerns as they conduct their environmental analysis and risk assessment.” Biotech industry analysts who were interviewed for the story cited increased competition from countries like Brazil for chemical companies’ desire to get more crops to market.