“FDA has no intention of abdicating our public health mandate” – Stephen M. Hahn, MD, former FDA commissioner
An agreement signed in the last days of the Trump administration would shift regulatory authority over genetically modified livestock from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to the USDA. But the decision is among many under review by the Biden administration, reports the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA).
On January 19, leaders in the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) signed an agreement that the USDA would take over portions of the FDA’s oversight of genetic modifications in agricultural animals and biotechnology for agricultural animals. But USDA officials announced on March 7 they were reopening the proposal’s comment period, which had expired February 26. The agency is accepting comments through May 7 under docket number APHIS-2020-0079.
On the day the memorandum was signed, Stephen M. Hahn, MD, then FDA commissioner, said via Twitter that the FDA did not support the agreement signed by the HHS.
“FDA has no intention of abdicating our public health mandate,” he wrote. “We’ll continue to stay focused on executing our vital public health mission entrusted to us by the American people.”
He said FDA officials remained committed to ensuring animal agriculture biotechnology products would undergo independent, scientific, risk-based evaluations by career experts who could determine whether the products are safe and effective.