Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Opposition Grows to Genetically Engineered Salmon

As the US Food and Drug Administration considers allowing the sale of genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, opposition organized by the Center for Food Safety, Natural Resources Defense Council and others is growing.

The national non-profit public interest and environmental advocacy organization said April 30 that more than 1.8 million people have sent the FDA comments vehemently opposing approval of GE salmon.

“The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for the Center. “It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the environment, and bad for our native salmon.”

Twelve senators, led by Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and 21 members of the House of Representatives, led by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, have asked the FDA to halt its approval until their economic, regulatory and environmental concerns are addressed. Also on the record in opposition to GE salmon are more than 250 businesses, individuals, public interest groups and fisheries organizations, including the Alaska Trollers Association, Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, and the Alaska Marine Conservation Council.

Officials with the Center for Food Safety said supermarket chains with more than 2,500 stores across the country have committed not to sell GE seafood, should it come to market, and that 260 chefs have signed on to a letter by Chefs Collaborative objecting to the transgenic fish.

Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, said the decision on this fish is precedent setting, and that a full environmental impact statement, including a failure-mode analysis that looks at the possibility of fish escapes, must be performed.

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