A Very, Very Dangerous Precedent: FDA Approves Genetically-Engineered Salmon
Just a few hours ago, the FDA declared that GE-salmon is as safe to eat as non-GE salmon and has given its approval for it to be sold to consumers.
Despite the fact that:
– Over 400,000 comments were submitted demanding that genetically-engineered salmon be rejected.
– More than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs, and restaurants filed joint statements with the FDA opposing approval.
– More than 40 members of the U.S. Congress have repeatedly urged the FDA to conduct more rigorous reviews of environmental and health safety, and halt any approval process until concerns over risks, transparency and oversight have been fully satisfied.
……….the FDA refused to listen to consumer opinion and environmental concerns, and it completely placated the well-funded biotech industry.
Not only is this the first GE-fish approved, but it is the first GE-animal approved for human consumption. (This “FrankenFish” is injected with a gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon and can reach adult size in 16 to 18 months instead of 30 months for normal Atlantic salmon.)
HERE IS WHAT WE KNOW
There are huge risks that come with this approval, including:
1) It can and will ruin the ocean’s natural ecosystem forever.
Once a genetically-engineered salmon escapes into the ocean, which always happens with farmed fish, there will be absolutely no turning back. The ramifications for native salmon stock, already suffering from a serious decline, are dreadful.
Somehow the concerns regarding impacts to wild species and the environment, raised during a Senate hearing, remain unanswered in recent FDA review documents.
As part of the approval, this salmon can be raised only in land-based, contained hatchery tanks in two specific facilities in Canada and Panama — which is even greater cause for concern.
2) This GE-fish is sick.
AquaBounty, the owner of this genetically-engineered fish, claims that the company’s process for raising GE-fish is safer than traditional aquaculture.
Yet, documents released by the Canadian government show that a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anaemia, the deadly fish flu which has been devastating fish stocks around the world, contaminated the AquaBounty’s Canadian production site.
Not surprisingly, this information wasn’t included in the FDA’s review and was hidden from the public.
3) The health risks for human beings eating genetically-salmon remain unknown.
What we do know is that the risks for eating GM-plants are huge.
4) Approval of GE-salmon will make it that much easier for GE-steak, GE-lamb, GE-pork, and other genetically-engineered foods and cloned animals to make their way onto our dinner plates. This FDA decision has set a very, very dangerous precedent.
For consumers who would like to know if their salmon is genetically-modified or not, good luck.
This is because the U.S. does not require the labeling of genetically-engineered foods or genetically-engineered animals. Similarly, the proposed DARK Act would make it illegal for states, such as Vermont, to impose a labeling law either.
WHAT THEY’RE NOT TELLING YOU
One thing you will not read in the mainstream press today is anything about the billionaire Randal Kirk, who recently acquired AquaBounty. Not only does he own this GE-salmon, but he also owns:
- Oxitec, the controversial company which wants to release genetically-modified mosquitoes to fight dengue fever.
- Okanagan Specialty Fruits, which grows genetically-modified apples that don’t turn brown.
- Intrexon, a synthetic biology company that employs more than 700 people. Synthetic biology is an extreme form of genetic engineering. Products of synthetic biology are virtually unregulated, have not been assessed adequately for impacts on our health or environment, and are not required to be labeled.
Randal Kirk could very well be creating the next Monsanto.
While this is a very grim day for those of us who care about health and the environment, in no uncertain terms can we give up the fight to take back our food system.