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March 4, 2024

USDA Seeks Comments on Petition to Deregulate Corn Developed Using Genetic Engineering

Lynn L. Bergeson Carla N. Hutton

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announced on March 4, 2024, that it received a petition from Bayer U.S.-Crop Science seeking a determination of nonregulated status for maize (corn) event MON 95379 that has been developed using genetic engineering to produce two insecticidal proteins to protect against feeding damage caused by target lepidopteran pests. 89 Fed. Reg. 15542. APHIS is making the petition available for review and comment to help it “identify potential issues and impacts that we may determine should be considered in our evaluation of the petition.” Comments are due May 3, 2024.

APHIS notes that it is evaluating the petition under the version of the regulations effective at the time that it received the petition. As reported in our May 18, 2020, memorandum, APHIS issued a final rule, published in the May 18, 2020, Federal Register (85 Fed. Reg. 29790), that revises 7 C.F.R. Part 340; the final rule was implemented in phases, however. The new Regulatory Status Review (RSR) process, which replaces the petition for determination of nonregulated status process, became effective on April 5, 2021, for corn, soybean, cotton, potato, tomato, and alfalfa. The RSR process was effective for all crops as of October 1, 2021. As stated in the final rule, “[u]ntil RSR is available for a particular crop . . . APHIS will continue to receive petitions for determination of nonregulated status for the crop in accordance with the [legacy] regulations at 7 CFR 340.6,” however. APHIS is evaluating the petition in accordance with the regulations at 7 C.F.R. Section 340.6 (2020) as it was originally received by APHIS on July 23, 2020.