Action Alert! Say NO to Genetically Modified Salmon!

February, 2013

AquAdvantage GMO salmon compared to natural salmonAquAdvantage GMO salmon compared to natural salmon 


Comment period deadline EXTENDED to April 26!

 

Tell President Obama and the U.S. FDA that you strongly oppose the approval of GE salmon to protect consumer health, the safety of our environment and the long-term integrity of our food supply.

AquaBounty's genetically engineered (GE) salmon would be the first genetically modified organism to be intended for human consumption. Yet it has failed to meet the most basic requirements of peer-reviewed scientific standards.  Unfortunately, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has refused to require rigorous independent scientific testing to adequately protect the economic and cultural integrity of West Coast fishing communities, wild salmon stocks, and the health of consumers.

GE salmon pose serious risks to our marine environment and wild populations of salmon.  Each year millions of farmed salmon escape, out-competing wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems.  Escaped GE salmon can also introduce disease to the marine environment and pose the threat of genetic pollution.  The National Academy of Sciences notes that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.  Any approval of GE salmon would represent a serious threat to the survival of native salmon populations, many of which have already suffered severe declines related to aquaculture and other man-made impacts.

Consumers must have the right to know what's in their food and how it's produced.  Under current U.S. law, labeling GE salmon is not required, therefore leaving consumers to guess what they are eating.  At the same time, government scientists have questioned the biosafety protocols provided by AquaBounty and serious questions remain about the safety of GE animals regarding their impact on human health and the environment.

Go to the Federal Government’s website to submit your comments electronically at http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0001. For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.” Include the following docket number in your mailed comment: FDA-2011-N-0899. Comments must be received by the U.S. FDA no later than April 26, 2013.

Division of Dockets Management (HFA- 305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Here is a sample letter drafted by the Center for Food Safety:

RE: Docket No. FDA–2011-N-0899 Genetically Engineered Salmon

I am writing to express my opposition to the approval of AquaBounty’s genetically engineered, AquAdvantage salmon (Docket No. FDA-2011-N-0899). As the AquaBounty transgenic salmon is the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption, the importance of thorough human health, environmental, and economic impact studies cannot be overstated. This animal should not be approved for human consumption until further study indicates that they are safe for consumers and the environment. FDA’s cursory EA is inadequate, and a full environmental impact statement is necessary to properly study the potential impacts of this novel fish.

I am very concerned about the potential toxicity, allergenicity, and diseases posed by the commercialization of this transgenic fish. While data on human health impacts of GE fish is sparse, some recent studies have provided cause for serious concern. For example, scientists have asserted that foreign growth hormones in transgenic fish may increase production of other compounds such as insulin in the fish.

Genetically engineered fish also pose serious risks to our marine environment and wild populations of salmon, and the men and women who depend upon them for their livelihoods. Each year millions of farmed salmon escape, outcompeting wild populations for resources and straining ecosystems. Any approval of GE salmon would represent a 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. Escaped GE salmon can pose an additional threat – genetic pollution resulting from what scientists call the “Trojan gene” effect.” 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 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations. This could be the last blow to wild salmon stocks.

Anticipating the stark danger to our ocean environments – and trying to circumvent analyses of those dangers – AquaBounty has claimed that they will only raise their fish in land-based facilities. However, once the production of GE fish becomes commercialized, it will be impossible to control the whereabouts of every single individual and assure compliance with appropriate containment measures.

The AquaBounty company also says that it will only produce sterile females; however fish are known to change sex and there is no guaranteed method to produce 100% sterility. Moreover, the company will need to keep stocks of fertile fish to produce additional offspring.

I strongly oppose the approval of these genetically engineered salmon and urge FDA to reject GE salmon. Should FDA decide to approve the AquAdvantage GE salmon despite overwhelming opposition, clear, mandatory labeling is an absolute must when marketing to fish farmers, fish retailers, food companies, restaurants, and consumers to allow people like myself to make informed purchasing decisions.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]
[Your Address]

 

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