FDA Considers Approval of Genetic Freak Salmon

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Aquabounty Technologies has artificially combined genetic material from Atlantic Salmon and eelpout to create a fast growing Salmon variety.The approval process with the FDA is moving forward after an almost decade long delay in the process. There are a variety of concerns;

Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population within 40 generations.

Food and Water Watch fish program director Marianne Cufone says that millions of farmed salmon escape each year from open-water net pens, out-competing wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. “We believe any approval of GE salmon would represent a serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts.”

The implications of this decision loom large on the food landscape. According to Businessweek;

If AquaBounty's salmon is approved, it would mark the first time a genetically modified animal has been approved for America's dinner plates and restaurant menus.

That's what worries consumer advocates, who say approving the salmon is opening the door to all sorts of genetically engineered animals, such as pigs and other mammals.

The FDA is regulating genetically engineered animals as it would a new veterinary drug, which means that much of the research and information about the product is being kept confidential, said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch in Washington, D.C.

"We don't know if it's safe for humans to eat and the only research that has been done was done by the company," according to Hauter. "The FDA is an under-resourced agency that has had so much trouble with the regulatory system for foods -- we've had tainted eggs, poisonous peanuts and other contaminations -- and is now taking on something in a very non-transparent way."

Living in the Pacfic Northwest, I know how sensitive Salmon populations are and after all the resources that have gone into ensuring the protection of salmon populations in the last fifty years I am astounded that this is being considered for approval.

Let the FDA know what you think:

FDA head Margaret Hamburg: margaret.hamburg@fda.hhs.gov

Food and Drug Administration
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Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002

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