Genetically modified salmon are on a fast track to being the first GM animal approved for human consumption. But the Food and Drug Administration, while moving ahead with the approval, does not have a way to fully evaluate the impacts of GM salmon on human health or the environment. GM salmon could threaten public health, wipe out wild salmon populations, diminish biodiversity of marine environments, and further drive the unhealthy trend of producing fish in overcrowded, unhealthy factory fish farms rather than the open ocean.
Worst of all, if these GM salmon are introduced into our food system, they won’t be labeled, so consumers won’t know what they’re buying.
More information on GM salmon is at the end of this alert, scroll down.
TAKE ACTION #1: Tell your Senators to co-sponsor the bill to ban GM Salmon
Contact your Senators and urge them to co-sponsor S.230, Senator Begichs bill to ban GM salmon. You can find out who represents you, and their contact information, at www.Senate.gov.
As a constituent, I urge you to take a stand and co-sponsor Senator Begich’s bill (S. 230) to ban genetically modified salmon. Despite an outpouring of concern over the risks to human health, wild fish populations and the environment by both consumers and scientists, the FDA has not reached a decision.
Approving the first genetically modified animal slated for human consumption without proper rigorous scientific review is a serious threat that cannot be ignored. This bill is a much needed step forward in order to protect consumers and the environment, and it needs your backing.
I urge you to join Senator Begich and co-sponsor this bill to ban approval of GE salmon.
I look forward to hearing from you,
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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced on August 25, 2010, that it will potentially approve the long-shelved AquAdvantage transgenic salmon as the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption. The GE Atlantic salmon being considered was developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and genetically engineered to produce growth hormones year-round, creating a fish the company claims grows at twice the normal rate. This could allow factory fish farms to crowd the salmon into pens and still get high production rates.
The FDA is approving GM Salmon as an animal “drug,” which is a fiction that is being used in order to limit public participation in this process. The failure of the FDA to develop a transparent process for the approval of GE animals and instead use the secretive process of the New Animal Drug regulations means that consumers will be deprived of basic information as to the safety of these animals.
The human health impacts of eating GM fish are entirely unknown, but some scientific research raises cause for alarm. For example, these GM farmed salmon will carry with them all of the health hazards of other farmed salmon, but transgenic fish may be more susceptible to disease than fish currently grown in aquaculture facilities because transgenic fish are identified as “macro-mutants” with a reduced ability to survive. Consequently, the amount of antibiotics given to transgenic fish may be higher than the amount currently given to farmed fish; already farmed salmon are given more antibiotics than any other livestock by weight, threatening the health of those who eat them and the continued efficacy of these antibiotics to treat human disease.
Each year millions of farmed salmon escape from open-water net pens, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Any approval of GE salmon would represent another serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to salmon farms and other man-made impacts. Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE fish into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations. Wild Atlantic salmon are already on the Endangered Species List in the U.S.; approving these GM Atlantic salmon will be the final blow to these wild stocks.
The process being used by FDA and AquaBounty uses the fiction that the genetically engineered salmon is, in effect, an animal “drug.” The failure of the FDA to develop a transparent process for the approval of GM animals and instead use the secretive process of the New Animal Drug regulations means that consumers will be deprived of basic information as to the safety of these animals.