Advances in science, many of them from scientists at USDA or through research funded by USDA, have opened up new options for farmers responding to market needs and environmental challenges. Many new plant varieties being developed or grown by farmers have been produced using genetic engineering, which involves manipulating the plant's genes through techniques of modern molecular biology often referred to as recombinant DNA technology. These techniques are included in what is often referred to as "biotechnology" or "modern biotechnology."
USDA supports the safe and appropriate use of science and technology, including biotechnology, to help meet agricultural challenges and consumer needs of the 21st century. USDA plays a key role in assuring that biotechnology plants and products derived from these plants are safe to be grown and used in the United States. Once these plants and products enter commerce, USDA supports bringing these and other products to the worldwide marketplace.
|A Shared Government Responsibility for the Safety of Agricultural Biotechnology-Derived Products|
Three federal agencies are involved in ensuring that plants produced using biotechnology and the many products derived from them are safe for farmers to use, safe to consume as food or feed, and safe for the environment. These are USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, the Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The three agencies regulate these products based on the characteristics of the actual products and their intended uses, and they operate under the existing laws passed by Congress to ensure the safety of plants used in agriculture, the safety of pesticides used in agriculture, and the safety of foods we eat and feeds given to animals. Many other USDA agencies have roles in the development...