Genetic engineering

GE salmon protest at White HouseWe have a right to food that is good for our bodies and our environment. Numerous studies show that genetically engineered foods can pose serious risks to both. Yet the U.S. Department of Agriculture keeps approving genetically engineered crops that benefit a few biotech corporations. At the same time, the Food and Drug Administration is considering approving the first-ever genetically engineered animal for human consumption, a genetically engineered salmon created by AquaBounty Technologies that supposedly grows twice as fast as its natural counterpart.

Friends of the Earth is working to keep this "frankenfish" and other genetically engineered foods off of grocery store shelves, and to ensure that all genetically engineered foods are labeled so that consumers can choose whether to feed these risky products to their families.

keep ge salmon off our platesResearch shows that genetically engineered fish pose numerous risks to wild fish populations. Of particular concern is the survival of natural Atlantic salmon, which is already listed as endangered. Research published by the Canadian government has found that genetically engineered salmon, if released into the wild, could lead to a collapse of wild populations. Genetically engineered salmon may be able to mate with wild populations, weakening their gene pool, and could even out-compete wild salmon for food, leading to ecosystem-wide impacts.

Human health is threatened too. The approval of the frankenfish would likely lead to the use of even more antibiotics in aquaculture, increasing the risks of drug-resistant bacteria and viruses. Farmed salmon are given more antibiotics than any other livestock by weight, and the company’s data shows the frankenfish may require even more antibiotics, as the engineered fish could be more susceptible to disease.

News coverage of GE salmon public awareness tourDespite concerns raised by scientists, the FDA has not yet conducted a thorough, independent analysis of the dangers frankenfish pose to people or the environment.

We are pushing the FDA to take a rigorous look at the risks, partnering with members of Congress on laws to prevent the spread of genetically engineered foods and mandate labels and mobilizing the public to take action to protect our health, biodiversity and our right to choose healthy food. Check out our issue brief on the risks posed by genetically engineered fish to learn more.

Genetic engineering is moving beyond our food and agricultural systems.  Friends of the Earth is also working to prevent the release of genetically engineered mosquitoes and other insects in the U.S. until proper laws have been written and risk assessments conducted to ensure these genetically engineered bugs don't harm humans or our ecosystems. Check out our issue brief on genetically engineered mosquitoes to learn more.

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