400,000 public comments, 40 Members of Congress ignored; CFS calls proposed approval of first ever GE animal “premature and misguided”
Center for Food Safety sharply criticized today’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement releasing an Environmental Assessment (EA) on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage® transgenic salmon. The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.
“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to push approval of this dangerous and unnecessary product,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety. “The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value; it’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment. FDA’s decision is premature and misguided.”
The FDA decision ignores calls from more than forty members of the U.S. Congress who have repeatedly urged FDA to conduct more rigorous review of environmental and health safety, and halt any approval process until concerns over risks, transparency and oversight have been fully satisfied. The public filed nearly 400,000 comments demanding FDA reject this application. Additionally, 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 FDA opposing approval.
AquaBounty 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 their Canadian production site. This information was not included in the FDA’s review and hidden from the public. Many additional long standing concerns regarding impacts to wild species and the environment raised during a Senate hearing last year remain unanswered in the latest FDA review documents.
“We need a robust regulatory system that puts environmental, human health, economic and animal welfare risks first,” said Kimbrell. “Putting a GE animal on the path to consumer use without proper safeguards and with no mandatory labeling requirement proves that the system FDA has in place gives us none of that.”
About Center for Food Safety
Center for Food Safety is a national, non-profit, membership organization founded in 1997 to protect human health and the environment by curbing the use of harmful food production technologies and by promoting organic and other forms of sustainable agriculture. CFS maintains offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, California and Portland, Oregon. More information can be found at www.centerforfoodsafety.org.