USDA Announces Deregulation of GE Low-Gossypol Cotton

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October 16, 2018

Dear BRS Stakeholder,

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) announces today the deregulation of Texas A&M’s cotton variety genetically engineered to have ultra-low levels of gossypol in its seed.

Gossypol is a naturally occurring compound in the pigment of cotton plants and protects them from pests and diseases. This GE variety maintains protective levels of gossypol in the plants, but the compound is significantly reduced in the seed. This benefits agriculture by lowering cottonseed oil refining costs, and potentially expands the use of cottonseed in the livestock and aquaculture feed industries, as well as for human food uses.

As part of the petition process, APHIS prepared a draft plant pest risk assessment (PPRA) and draft environmental assessment (EA), and made these documents available for a 30-day public review and comment period on August 1, 2018.

APHIS considered all of the public comments and conducted a thorough review of the potential environmental impacts in its final EA pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), reaching a finding of no significant impact (FONSI).

APHIS concluded in its final PPRA that this variety of GE cotton is unlikely to pose a plant pest risk to agricultural crops or other plants in the United States and is deregulating this variety of GE cotton.

A copy of APHIS’ final PPRA, regulatory Determination, EA, FONSI and supporting documents can be found on the News and Information page of the BRS website today. The deregulation will be effective upon publication of the official Federal Register notice on October 17, 2018.