Can French fries be made “less unhealthy”?
That’s one of the objectives — along with less farm pollution — of “genome editing” now in advanced testing by several agricultural products companies. “Genome editing” may prove to be outside the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of Agriculture in that such techniques were not envisioned when agricultural regulations were developed.
A Consumers Union senior scientist says that products of such new technology “can have all sorts of ecological impact and no one is required to look at it.” One such anticipated outcome
is reduced livestock waste.
Technology is usually one step ahead of regulation. However, companies using the new techniques suggest that this new product development doesn’t require new regulations in that it mirrors current conventional plant breeding and natural mutation. In addition, they suggest that freedom from regulation may open opportunities for smaller companies and university breeders as well as opening markets for these products in countries that restrict genetically modified crops.