Updates: news releases and updates

FDA Urged to Keep Genetically Engineered Salmon Off Consumers’ Plates

Posted Sep. 20, 2010 / Posted by: Eric Hoffman

For Immediate Release

Contact:
Sarah Mier, 202-222-0751, smier@foe.og
Eric Hoffman, 202-222-0747 (o), 443-465-2219 (c), ehoffman@foe.org

Groups Urge FDA to Keep Genetically Engineered Salmon Off Consumers’ Plates at Public Hearing

FDA committee to recommend action on first genetically altered animal considered for human consumption

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Today experts from environmental, public interest and consumer groups including Friends of the Earth were testifying at public hearings to urge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to reject genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.

The FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee is expected to recommend whether the FDA should approve a controversial genetically engineered salmon manufactured by the corporation AquaBounty for sale to U.S. consumers at the conclusion of today’s hearing.

In his prepared testimony, Friends of the Earth’s biotechnology policy campaigner Eric Hoffman raised concerns about the FDA’s failure to conduct an independent, scientifically rigorous assessment of the altered salmon’s potential environmental impacts.

“AquaBounty’s environmental assessment is flawed and fails to address the real threats posed by escaped genetically engineered salmon for wild salmon populations and local ecosystems, or the environmental harm caused by raising and feeding these fish,” testified Hoffman.

Studies have shown that if genetically engineered fish escape into the wild, they could cause the extinction of natural salmon populations, including the endangered Atlantic salmon.

Other concerns raised by Friends of the Earth and a coalition of 20 other environmental and consumer groups who submitted joint comments include flaws in AquaBounty’s process for sterilizing and isolating the altered fish and the high volume of antibiotics that would likely be required to produce them in factory farms.

“AquaBounty will do what is necessary to increase profits -- even if it’s at the expense of the environment, public health, or wild salmon populations,” Hoffman added in calling on the FDA to complete a comprehensive, independent environmental impact statement and ultimately reject this genetically engineered fish for human consumption.

In advance of the public hearing, the coalition generated more than 160,000 comments, including 7,885 from Friends of the Earth supporters, urging the FDA to keep genetically modified salmon off consumers’ plates. Friends of the Earth, Food and Water Watch, Center for Food Safety and Ben and Jerry’s also demonstrated in front of the White House last Thursday to call on President Obama and the FDA to reject AquaBounty’s application.

The text of Eric Hoffman’s testimony to the FDA is available here: http://www.foe.org/sites/default/files/FriendsoftheEarth-comments-GESalmon-VMAC.pdf

The coalition’s written comments to the FDA are available here: http://www.foe.org/sites/default/files/FriendsoftheEarth-WrittenComments-VMAC-GE%20Salmon.pdf

Pictures from last Thursday’s White House demonstration are available on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/foeaction/sets/72157624975541954/

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Friends of the Earth (www.foe.org) and our federation of grassroots groups in 77 countries are a force for the sustainable and fair use of the Earth’s resources. Our current campaigns focus on promoting clean energy and solutions to climate change, keeping toxic and risky technologies out of the food we eat and products we use, and protecting marine ecosystems and the people who live and work near them.

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