Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced that the USDA will end the use of genetically modified crops in its definition of food.
Perdue’s move follows similar actions by the Agriculture Department of the past few years, and the USDA already has adopted a similar policy for cotton and wheat in other fields of agriculture.
The USDA defines foods as those produced by animals or plants that are not genetically modified, and genetically modified organisms are those that have been modified by a method known as genetic engineering.
In other words, genetically modified foods are the same as foods that are produced without any modification by natural processes, like the process of growing the seed or fertilizing it.
The change is intended to ensure that the food definition does not conflict with the USDA’s other requirements for food labeling.
In addition to mandating the use in the definition of crops of crops produced by organisms not genetically altered, the new policy will also clarify the definition for “sustainable agriculture.”
The new definition for sustainable agriculture would include any agricultural production that does not involve the use or abuse of genetic modification technologies, including the use, cultivation, and marketing of genetically engineered seeds.
Perdentes move follows a similar move by the Department of Agriculture of the Obama administration.
In September, the USDA announced that it would stop using the term “agricultural production” for agricultural production and focus instead on the production of foods for human consumption, rather than the production and marketing, of genetically altered crops.
Perdues announcement follows similar moves by the USDA of the last few years.
The move comes as the Trump administration has moved to roll back many of the rules and regulations that the Obama-era administration implemented, and some of the proposed rules are aimed at addressing issues such as food safety, greenhouse gas emissions, and global warming.