Ethan A. Huff
Sept 23, 2010
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently held a hearing during which an advisory panel listened to arguments from both sides of the debate concerning the approval of genetically modified (GM) salmon. Massive outcry from consumers, farmers and consumer advocacy groups stalled the FDA’s immediate decision in the matter, but opponents of the Frankenfish are now demanding that, if approved later, the FDA will at least require transparent GM labeling.
Of course, practically no average citizen is in favor of AquAdvantage, the trade name given to AquaBounty Technologies’ mutant salmon, being approved at all. But hints from the FDA prior to the hearing indicate that the agency sees nothing wrong with the fish, even though no legitimate safety studies have proven it to be safe for human consumption or for the environment.
In fact, practically all of the information about AquAdvantage is being kept confidential because the FDA is approaching GM animal regulation in the same way it does new veterinary drugs.
“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,” explained Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch (FWW), a non-profit conservancy group based in Washington, D.C.
Thirty other groups joined FWW in opposing the approval of AquAdvantage at the hearing, as well as numerous other private citizens and local farmers concerned about the long-term implications of releasing a mutant fish into the environment.
If the FDA decides that AquAdvantage is no different than natural, wild salmon, then current federal laws permit it to be sold without GM disclosure. And if approved, GM salmon will set a precedent for the approval of many other types of GM animals, including common food animals like cows, pigs and chickens.
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This article was posted: Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 9:06 am