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Groups Stage Protest Against GM Salmon

 
Food & Water Watch, The Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and the CEO of Ben & Jerry’s yesterday rallied in front of the White House to demand that the Obama administration halt Food and Drug Administration approval of genetically modified salmon.

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The FDA is expected to decide whether to approve the controversial salmon following a series of hearings scheduled for Sunday and Monday.

The fish have been developed over 20 years by AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based company that has inserted a gene from a chinook salmon into Atlantic salmon, which are widely grown in fish farms.  The AquAdvantage salmon are said to grow twice as fast as typical Atlantic salmon and to require approximately 10 percent less feed to achieve the same weight.

“It’s looking like the FDA will approve the salmon in the next few days unless consumers speak out to stop them,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, which is leading the charge to block approval.  “Unfortunately, the FDA has kept the public in the dark about the decision-making process.  The clock is ticking, which is why we’re calling on the Obama administration to halt the process before this science experiment ends up on our plates.”
 
Although AquaBounty says it will produce only sterile fish, its critics fear up to 5 percent of the GE salmon eggs could be fertile and that the fish could breed with wild populations if they escape.  Opponents also question the length and depth of the studies the company conducted to assess potential human health risks that might be associated with consuming transgenic fish.

The coalition of groups contesting approval, which also includes The Organic Consumers Association, Food Democracy Now, and CREDO Action, have, as of yesterday, collected more than 160,000 consumer comments that they will submit to the FDA and President Obama, urging opposition to the genetically enhanced salmon.

AquaBounty said in a statement this week that it welcomes the opportunity to explain the company’s technology throughout the approval process.  Ronald Stotish, president and CEO of AquaBounty, says the upcoming public meetings “will provide an opportunity for the public to understand how the application of our technology will enable the safe and sustainable production of high quality fish.

“We believe the economic and environmental benefits of our salmon will very effectively help to meet the demand for food from the growing world population,” said Stotish.
 
protest2-350.jpgThe first day of public meetings, scheduled for Sunday, is intended to be an orientation for Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee members on the technology of producing GM animals and the FDA’s regulatory process for evaluating these animals.  Monday, the FDA will present information on animal health, food safety, environmental concerns, and data supporting the claim that AquAdvantage salmon grow faster than conventionally bred Atlantic salmon.

Tuesday, the FDA  meeting will focus on food labeling.  In announcing the session, the FDA noted:  “Although it will be FDA’s responsibility to determine if any special labeling is required in accordance with federal law, the hearing will offer the public an opportunity to comment on the application of the relevant food labeling principles to foods that might be made from the AquAdvantage Salmon.”

Photos courtesy of Eddie Gehman Kohan of Obama Foodorama.

© Food Safety News
  • Ray

    GM Foods and especially GM fish should be labeled. We should have the right to know what we are eating. If you would like to help pressure our government for mandatory labeling of GM foods please consider joining the Food Bloc page on votingbloc.org here:
    http://www.votingbloc.org/Food_Bloc.php

  • Sandra Johnson

    FDA-Please do not mess with Mother Nature and start altering pure wild salmon. It seems to me it’s a matter of FOR PROFIT NOT FOR PEOPLE-that you operate on mot just food but toxic medications.
    I only buy the wild salmon at a local Co-op and I refuse to buy any fish farmed, seafood from other countries-Thailand,China,etc.
    I think the wild salmon producers should be protesting too-where’s their protest?
    Smart healthy people know that organic natural foods are medicine to our body. All processed foods, including eggs, become processed to make a Mighty Buck and to see how cheap producers can make these products, yet what happens is you get toxic food manufactured products which probably causes cancer along with all the other toxins in our environment.

  • Sandra Johnson

    FDA-Please do not mess with Mother Nature and start altering pure wild salmon. It seems to me it’s a matter of FOR PROFIT NOT FOR PEOPLE-that you operate on mot just food but toxic medications.
    I only buy the wild salmon at a local Co-op and I refuse to buy any fish farmed, seafood from other countries-Thailand,China,etc.
    I think the wild salmon producers should be protesting too-where’s their protest?
    Smart healthy people know that organic natural foods are medicine to our body. All processed foods, including eggs, become processed to make a Mighty Buck and to see how cheap producers can make these products, yet what happens is you get toxic food manufactured products which probably causes cancer along with all the other toxins in our environment.

  • Eric

    I am seriously bothered by the fact that the FDA has yet to require labeling for any genetically engineered foods. As a consumer, I should have the right to know and without labels, the person working behind the counter at the grocery won’t even know what is modified. Let the FDA know ASAP where you stand on this issue. You can email their consumer affairs department here: consumer@fda.gov

  • Kim

    Frankly, I guess I would refuse to eat any salmon unless it is the delicious salmon that my friends catch on the Klamath River in Northern California.
    One way people can protest the FDA’s corrupt refusal to require labels on genetically-modified salmon is to refuse to buy store-bought salmon. That would send a message loud and clear to AquaBounty and their competitors that the public knows what they are eating, we just won’t eat it.

  • JPB

    Please don’t sell genetically engineered salmon to us.
    The only reason they would create this is for profits.
    less feed+ Fast growth= more meat and more money for profiteers forget about the potential health affects to people animals and the environment. These freaky creatures could disturb our already
    fragile environment just like these bozos in industry think that global warming is not real. As glaciers melt and we have the hottest summers and worst winters in history.

  • Steve

    Invasive species are a major problem with just with increased travel from international travel. From that we now have asian carp crowding out native fish and waterweeds clogging canals and choking pumps, exhausting oxygen and killing fish, etc.. These invasive species at least have naturally evolved enemies. Adding GM fish and plants will exponentially expand the problem. The executive director of GeneEthics says, “If those genetically manipulated fish get out into wild salmon populations then it is very likely that those wild salmon populations will go extinct within as few as 40 generations.”
    Saying GM is no different from traditional husbandry is like saying nuclear fusion is no different from your furnace, they both are just sources of heat. It’s like saying making a new self replicating form of radioactive iodine is just chemistry like regular lab work.

  • dangermaus

    I’m with you, Steve… The danger here is in the eventual “escape” of these genes into the wild population. Exotic fish, like plants, can have a tendency to explode (in population) when introduced into a new environment with no parasites or predators. I imagine a fast-growing fish might (or might not) have an advantage over wild fish (that don’t have the gene), causing, over time, a growing percentage of the wild stock to have the gene – until there’s a “bad year” when there’s not enough food for them (or whatever), when the fast growth gene becomes deleterious, triggering a larger-than-normal collapse in the wild population. That’s just me spinning a yarn, though- there’s no way of knowing if this gene would cause such a disturbance, but how could you know until it happened?
    If my understanding of the topic is correct, predatory fish (like Salmon) farming doesn’t have a lot of history. There’s probably a lot that can be done with conventional breeding, and with tweaking cultivation techniques. Stick with tilapia – and go fishing for those dang Asian carp if you live in the Mississippi basin…

  • Rachel

    PLEASE do not allow GM salmon or other GM foods, and Please label any foods that are GM. It is unnatural, unethical, there are not enough long-term studies to substantiate your research, and this is all very concerning to me! Specifically, I would like more research geared toward making sure there are no allergens present in the fish as I have allergies in my family. I am not allergic to salmon now and I’d like to keep it that way!
    So many people are requesting labeling of GM foods. Why not comply? We live in America and are proud to be here because we have Freedom in this country…we are Asking to be heard on this issue. Is there some reason not to label these foods? Is the government trying to hide something? I want these foods labeled, and there are many others who feel as I do. I hope they will consider, at the very least, our right to be acknowledged and heard and act accordingly!
    If Gm salmon is sold on the market, I for one, will not buy salmon anymore. I will not buy it for my family. I know that others will do the same.

  • Trust of the FDA is impossible.
    For just one example….The FDA, in it’s job to “regulate” tobacco, is forbidden by Congress to set foot on a tobacco farm to look into the 450 or so pesticides registered for use on tobacco. Many of those pesticides remain as residues on tobacco, and many are dioxin-delivering chlorine chemicals.
    You’d think that the FDA and Congress never heard of Times Beach, Love Canal, Rachel Carson, or Agent Orgnge.
    FDA, by being banned from looking into the agricultural areas (the domain of the USDA…which has approved and ignored deadly ag chemicals on tobacco for decades), cannot consider the health effects of cancer-causing levels of radiation-contaminated phosphate fertilizers…still “legal” despite certain popular health concerns about “smoking”.
    See http://fauxbacco.blogspot.com for ample references.
    Bottom line…the FDA will ignore the most harmful industrial components of any products, even smoking products, and work to indict nature and the unwitting and unprotected victims. The FDA, like generally all “regulatory” agencies, is an agent of Big Biz, protecting the businesses against outrage and rebellion from People. They are Pretend Protectors.
    If the FDA “regulates” salmon the way it’s up to “regulating” tobacco, we are in big trouble.

  • Uyen Phan

    Trusting the FDA is impossible when it does not even value or consider the customer’s health and opinions.We citizen want our messages to be heard loud and clear and we state “NO!NO!NO!” to GE Fish. Our life expectancy is short enough and now they want to shorten it even more? I say ALL GE products be labeled to protect the consumers against companies like AquaBounty and their corruption in making profits. As a consumer I have the right to know what is put into the foods that I stuff in my mouth. I agree with every enviromentalist out there that FDA should require all GE products be Stamped with a LABEL.