For Immediate Release
FDA Approves Unlabeled GMO Salmon Despite Widespread Opposition from Scientists, Consumers and Members of Congress
Ignoring Calls for More Comprehensive Studies, FDA Fails to Protect Public
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON - “Today, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first genetically engineered food animal, AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon, despite insufficient safety testing and widespread opposition. This unfortunate, historic decision disregards the vast majority of consumers, many independent scientists, numerous members of Congress and salmon growers around the world, who have voiced strong opposition.
“FDA’s decision also disregards AquaBounty’s disastrous environmental record, which greatly raises the stakes for an environmentally damaging escape of GMO salmon. In recent years, AquaBounty facilities outside the United States have dealt with an accidental disease outbreak, an accident that lead to ‘lost’ salmon, and a $9,500 fine from Panamanian regulators who found the company in breach of that country’s environmental laws.
“The FDA is supposed to protect public safety, yet the agency’s environmental review was done in the form of an environmental assessment instead of a more thorough environmental impact statement that would fully consider the threat this controversial new fish could pose to wild fish populations and ecosystems. Canadian researchers found that GMO salmon readily breed with a different species of fish, a potential risk that FDA never addressed in its risk assessment.
“To add insult to injury, this product will be hitting store shelves without labeling, making it impossible for concerned consumers to distinguish GMO from non-GMO salmon. Not only does this ignore consumers’ fundamental right to know how our food is produced, it is simply bad for business, since many consumers will avoid purchasing any salmon for fear it is genetically engineered.
“Food & Water Watch will be examining all options to stop this controversial and unnecessary GMO fish from reaching the marketplace. We urge President Obama to overturn FDA’s approval and stop GMO salmon from reaching consumers’ dinner plates.”
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.