A group of graduate students at the University of Minnesota is asking Congress to streamline the approval process for GMO crops that produce food and fiber. The seven students are doing graduate work at the Minnesota College of Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resource Sciences. They believe the regulatory hoops that companies need to jump through to commercialize new traits are slowing down innovation.
In a letter to U.S. representatives, the students pointed out that it costs companies between $20 million and $30 million to get a new GMO crop from start to finish through the regulatory process. That’s a price tag that limits smaller companies from making inroads into the marketplace. The students say, “Each of us has numerous ideas about genetic modification that could be developed into startup companies and bring more competition in a marketplace that’s dominated by a few mega-companies that can afford the regulatory process.”
The letter asks Congress to pass a bipartisan bill that funnels GMO fuel and fiber crops through either the USDA or the EPA, but not both.