USDA to analyze GE virus effect on greening, environment

The Packer – A genetically engineered virus designed to help combat citrus greening will be reviewed for its effects on the environment by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. 

The USDA said it plans to issue a notice April 10 on preparing an Environmental Impact Statement on the possible release of the genetically engineered citrus tristeza virus. 

Trenton, Fla.-based Southern Gardens Citrus Nursery LLC, has asked for approval of a permit for the environmental release of the genetically engineered virus. The company is requesting the permit to use the GE virus as a biological control agent to help manage citrus greening disease, according to a news release.

Comments will be accepted until May 10 on USDA’s intent to prepare an environmental impact statement on the GE virus. The agency said it would use public comments to complete and publish the agency’s draft environmental impact statement. The USDA did not say when the document would be finished. 

Image citation: Florida Division of Plant Industry Archive, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,​; CC BY 3.0

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