Food & Water Watch and Center for Food Safety called on FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg today to put an end to erroneous statements by AquaBounty Technologies Vice President, who recently told the press that FDA has already decided that the company’s GMO salmon will be sold without a label.
“FDA’s failure to take action on AquaBounty’s blatant misrepresentation of the facts typifies the agency’s entire hands-off regulatory review of GMO salmon,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “It also illustrates the dangerous level of miscommunication between FDA and AquaBounty that, historically, has caused the agency to overlook critical risks associated with GMO salmon.”
Today’s letter marks the third time that Food & Water Watch has asked the FDA to address the bogus statements by Aquabounty and correct the public record. To date, FDA has failed to take action, allowing AquaBounty’s patently false statements to circulate in the media and confuse the public. FDA has long stated that it would not make its labeling decision until it makes its regulatory approval decision, which has not happened.
“Aquabounty is misrepresenting the facts, and FDA appears to be letting them get away with it. If approved, this would be the first ever genetically engineered animal, making it all the more imperative that there is no confusion about the facts. FDA has a responsibility to prevent deception among consumers and it has failed in that duty,” said George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety.
AquaBounty’s erroneous statements about labeling appear to follow a long line of misstatements or missing disclosures from the company. As just one example, the company apparently failed to disclose unfavorable news to FDA about a major biosecurity lapse in 2009, when a fatal disease entered AquaBounty’s Canadian facility, causing the company to take emergency action to depopulate much of the facility.
“We hope that AquaBounty knows that FDA has not made a decision on labeling,” said Hauter. “The company’s behavior does not instill confidence that AquaBounty can raise the riskiest fish in the world.”