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USDA establishes New Biotechnology Compliance and Enforcement Unit

by 5m Editor
20 October 2003, at 12:00am

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service announced today the establishment of a dedicated compliance and enforcement unit within its Biotechnology Regulatory Services (BRS) program.

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“Compliance with APHIS’ biotechnology regulations has been very high over the past 15 years, but with the ever-changing science, it is imperative that the safeguards in place to protect America’s agriculture continue to evolve,“ said APHIS Administrator Bobby Acord. “The new compliance program will focus on violation prevention efforts, risk-based criteria for quality inspections and auditing, uniform enforcement and thorough documentation.“

BRS is actively recruiting for the head of the compliance unit and the initial staff. This unit builds on efforts already underway in BRS to enhance compliance, which have included changes in regulations, permit conditions, inspections, and auditing procedures. BRS’ new approach is consistent with how other APHIS programs monitor for and enforce regulations.

BRS, which was created in August 2002, is responsible for regulating the introduction (importation, interstate movement, and field release) of genetically engineered organisms such as plants, insects, microorganisms and any other organism that is known to, or could be, a plant pest. Through a strong regulatory framework, BRS ensures the safe and contained introduction of new genetically engineered plants with significant safeguards to prevent the accidental release of any such material. Under the Plant Protection Act of 2000, failure to follow the conditions set forth by BRS can result in serious fines and even jail time.

Source: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service - 17th October 2003

5m Editor