At the start of this week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that it had made a low-risk determination for the marketing of products – including food – from two genome-edited beef cattle and their offspring after determining that an intentional genomic alteration did not raise any safety concern.
The genomic alteration? Well, the IGA at hand results in cattle having the short-hair or “slick” coat seen in some conventionally bred cattle. The FDA reports that scientific literature indicates that cattle with this trait are potentially able to better withstand hot weather.
The IGA was introduced using a genome-editing technique know as CRISPR. It can now be passed on to offspring allowing the trait to be shared through conventional breeding. The product developer plans to use the genetic products from these two animals with select customers in the global market soon and anticipates meat products will be available for purchase by general consumers in as early as 2 years.
Data reviewed by the FDA confirms that this intentional genomic alteration results in the same trait as in cattle found in conventional agriculture and that, furthermore, the food is the same from animal to animal regardless of how they gained the trait.