COVID-19 Update

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Dear BRS Stakeholder,

As the nation navigates the rapidly changing developments related to COVID-19, our commitment to you remains to make transparent and thoughtful decisions rooted in our mission to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources. That’s why, for the safety of all and consistent with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding social distancing, we’ve made the decision to use all available USDA telework flexibilities and contingencies to serve you starting March 19, 2020. Here is what to expect:

• We will continue to accept and process permit applications and notifications

• We will continue to accept and process petitions for non-regulated status

• We will continue to accept and process Am I Regulated (AIR) requests

• We will continue to require and accept planting and other reports

• We will continue to be accessible by telephone

• We will continue to conduct compliance assurance activities

• We will continue to move forward on revision of 7 CFR part 340 regulations

Please continue to work with BRS staff as you normally do. This will just look a little different with staff working remotely and a shift to a more “digital” experience. You can also contact BRS with questions at the following email addresses:

BRS Permit Status, and Requests for Labels and/or Letters of No Jurisdiction

If you have already applied for a BRS permit or notification and would like to inquire about the status, or obtain your labels, or Letter of No Jurisdiction, contact: BRSPermits@usda.gov. Access to ePermits is available on the BRS website. For questions regarding APHIS eFile contact: eFile.Communications@usda.gov.

Questions on Permitting Requirements for GE Organisms

For general regulatory questions regarding the permitting process for importation, interstate movement, and environmental release of GE organisms that may pose a pest risk to plants, contact: biotechquery@usda.gov.

Submitting Petitions for Nonregulated status

To facilitate efficiency and effectiveness, there are two options to submit petitions for nonregulated status:

Preferred option: Electronic submission. Please send an email to BRSPetitions@usda.gov to notify us of your intent to submit a petition electronically. We will then provide you a secure mechanism to submit it electronically.

Standard option: Paper submission via U.S. Postal Service.

Questions on Regulatory Requirements for New GE Organisms (Am I Regulated Process)

The Am I Regulated (AIR) process allows developers to inquire if their GE product currently in the research phase or newly developed using modern techniques of biotechnology meet the APHIS definition of a regulated article. Please review the AIR instructions and then send your AIR letter of inquiry via e-mail to: AIRinquiry@usda.gov.

Compliance Questions, Incident Reporting, and Submission of Reports

For questions about our compliance and inspection process and requirements; to report a compliance incident; or to submit a required report associated with a permit or notification, send an e-mail to: BRScompliance@usda.gov.

Support Complying with Biotechnology Regulations

The Biotechnology Quality Management Support (BQMS) Program provides participants with the tools and guidance to better maintain compliance with APHIS biotechnology regulations, 7 CFR part 340. Developers and researchers who would like assistance learning how to comply with our regulations are encouraged to contact us at: BRS.BQMS@usda.gov.

The news around COVID-19 is constantly changing, as are the needs of each community. We are prepared to reevaluate practices and return to normal operations when it is safe to do so.

We will continue to closely monitor this evolving situation and provide updates as we receive information. Be sure to regularly check the BRS home page.

Your safety as well as the safety of our staff are our highest priority. We thank you for your patience during this extraordinary time. Please continue to follow federal, state, and local guidelines for remaining safe and healthy.