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USDA DEREGULATES GENETICALLY ENGINEERED PAPAYA

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Jim Barrett (301) 734-6405
Suzanne Bond (301) 734-5175

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2, 2009--The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) today announced that after a thorough review of scientific evidence it will deregulate the genetically engineered (GE) papaya designated as event X17-2. The papaya and its progeny can now be moved freely and planted without regulatory oversight by APHIS.

APHIS deregulated the papaya after concluding that it does not present a plant pest risk. APHIS' determination was based on an analysis of scientific data, comments received from the public and our environmental assessment (EA).

The University of Florida submitted a petition to APHIS to deregulate the GE papaya, which is genetically engineered to be resistant to papaya ringspot virus. APHIS published a notice in the Federal Register seeking public comment on the University of Florida's petition and a draft EA on June 18, 2008. The public comment period closed Sept. 2, 2008.

APHIS regulates GE products in cooperation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In addition to APHIS review, the University of Florida has submitted the appropriate documents to both EPA and FDA to address requirements specific to each agency. EPA requires that all pesticides, including herbicides, be registered prior to distribution or sale, unless exempt from EPA regulation. Residue tolerances for pesticides are also established by EPA, and FDA enforces those tolerances. FDA provides a consultation process to ensure that any human and animal feed safety issues are resolved prior to commercial distribution of a GE food.

APHIS is responsible for protecting U.S. agriculture and the environment from animal and plant pests and has overseen the deregulation of 75 GE products.
This action is published in the Sept. 1 Federal Register and becomes effective upon publication.

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