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USDA grants exemption to Amfora for high-protein soybeans

Exemption paves the way for the company to contribute to the growing market for sustainable plant-based proteins.

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has granted a regulatory exemption to Amfora, Inc., allowing the company to proceed with the commercialization of its gene-edited, ultra-high protein soybeans without further USDA review. This exemption, under 7 CFR Part 340, marks a significant advancement in Amfora’s development of sustainable plant-based proteins.

Amfora's soybeans have been modified to increase protein content by approximately 25 percent compared to conventional soybeans, using CRISPR gene-editing technology to enhance the activity of specific genes. This process increases protein levels while reducing carbohydrates without introducing foreign DNA, making the soybeans a potent source of plant-based protein for meat alternatives, aquaculture feeds, and other dietary products.

Lloyd Kunimoto, CEO of Amfora, stated, “This regulatory decision will accelerate our ability to scale the sustainable production of protein from soybeans. Our ultra-high protein crops will enable manufacturers to meet the rapidly growing demand for plant-based proteins at lower costs while taking meaningful steps to address climate change and food insecurity.”

The exemption by USDA APHIS is particularly timely as global demand for sustainable protein sources continues to grow amid increasing concerns over the environmental impacts of traditional animal protein production. Amfora plans to apply this technology to other crops, including peas, legumes, rice, and wheat, anticipating similar regulatory exemptions for these developments.

The company’s approach not only aims to enhance global food security and nutrition but also aligns with efforts to reduce the environmental footprint of agricultural practices by potentially lowering the need for fertilizers and other inputs.

Amfora's innovation in increasing the protein content of soybeans and other crops holds promise for significantly impacting food security and nutrition worldwide, contributing to healthier diets and more sustainable agricultural practices globally.

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