In his final week in office, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Purdue signed a memorandum of understanding that makes the agriculture department the chief regulator over farm animal biotechnology and gene editing.
He said it enables American farmers to compete on a level playing field around the world.
“In the past, regulations stifled innovation, causing American businesses to play catch-up and cede market share,” he said.
Establishing a new, transparent, risk and science-based regulatory framework will ensure food safety will continue, he said.
The memorandum of understanding applies to genetic engineering for cattle, sheep, goats, swine, horses, mules, or other equines, catfish, and poultry grown for agriculture purposes.
Until this deal, oversight was shared by the agriculture department with the Food and Drug Administration.
The USDA will be responsible to safeguard animal and human health by providing end-to-end oversight from pre-market reviews through post-market food safety monitoring for certain farm animals modified or developed using genetic engineering that are intended for human food.