GE Salmon: Coming for Dinner?
FDA Looks To Approve Genetically Engineered Salmon, Without Labeling!
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on August 25, 2010, that it will potentially approve the long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption. The GE Atlantic salmon being considered was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and genetically engineered to produce growth hormones year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows at twice the normal rate. This could allow factory fish farms to crowd the salmon into pens and still get high production rates. To make matters worse, FDA argues that these GE salmon don’t even need to be labeled!
We have only a short window to tell FDA to reject these GE fish, and at the very least label them. Can you send a comment today?
Each year millions of farmed salmon escape from open-water net pens, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Any approval of GE salmon would represent another 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. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE fish into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations. Wild Atlantic salmon are already on the Endangered Species List in the U.S.; approving these GE Atlantic salmon will be the final blow to these wild stocks.
The human health impacts of eating GE fish are entirely unknown, but some scientific research raises cause for alarm. For example, these GE farmed salmon will carry with them all of the health hazards of other farmed salmon, but transgenic fish may be more susceptible to disease than fish currently grown in aquaculture facilities because transgenic fish are identified as “macro-mutants” with a reduced ability to survive. Consequently, the amount of antibiotics given to transgenic fish may be higher than the amount currently given to farmed fish; already farmed salmon are given more antibiotics than any other livestock by weight, threatening the health of those who eat them and the continued efficacy of these antibiotics to treat human disease.
Tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve GE salmon AND, if the Obama Administration insists on approving these genetically engineered fish, it should require the fish to be labeled when marketed to fish farmers, fish retailers and food companies, restaurants, and when marketed to consumers.