According to a statement, the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will prepare an 'environmental impact statement' to evaluate current biotechnology regulations and several possible regulation changes, including the development of a multi-tiered, risk-based permitting system to replace the current permit/notification system.
'Any proposed changes to the regulations will be science and risk-based,' emphasised the USDA.
Open to input from industry and consumers APHIS said the notice is available on the Federal Register.
Across the Atlantic, European Commission officials will meet today to hammer out the thorny subject of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), including a previously delayed proposal to authorise Bt-11, a GM sweetcorn supplied by Swiss firm Syngenta.
The outcome of the Brussels meeting - that features a list of GM related topics - could lead to greater pressure on EU states to lift the bloc's five-year ban on GMOs. A move that has angered the US and its biotech friendly farmers, who have declared it a barrier to trade, and have launched a dispute panel at the World Trade Organisation.