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FDA clears way for GM salmon

1.Consumers Union  Says FDA Assessment of GE Salmon Is Flawed and Inadequate
2.Obama Administration Snubs Risks, Moves Forward With GE Salmon Approval

TAKE ACTION: Tell FDA: Do Not Approve Genetically Engineered Salmon!
 http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/1881/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9138
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1.Consumers Union  Says FDA Assessment of GE Salmon Is Flawed and Inadequate
Consumers Union, December 21 2012
 http://notinmyfood.org/press_release/cu-says-fda-assessment-of-ge-salmon-is-flawed-and-inadequate

Yonkers, NY - Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, criticized the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Aquabounty genetically engineered salmon released today by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as flawed and inadequate.

“The EA states that the FDA has found that the salmon is safe to eat. However, we are deeply concerned that the potential of these fish to cause allergic reactions has not been adequately researched. FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six engineered fish - tests that actually did show an increase in allergy-causing potential,” stated Michael Hansen PhD, Senior Scientist with Consumers Union. “Further, there have been no safety testing of fish grown in Panama, where Aquabounty intends to raise the salmon. The health and safety of fish can be affected by growing conditions.”

“We are also concerned that FDA puts great weight, in their finding of ‘no significant impact’ on the fact that the engineered salmon would be sterile females. However FDA indicates that only 95 percent of the salmon may be sterile, and the rest fertile. When you are talking about millions of fish, even one percent comes to thousands of fish. Moreover, perhaps even more important, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada would obviously not be sterile - otherwise they could not produce eggs,” Hansen states.

“We are further concerned that consumers will in many cases not have any way to avoid this fish if they want to. While salmon is required by law to be labeled as to country of origin in supermarkets, this does not apply to fish markets or restaurants. While in supermarkets consumers could avoid fish from Panama, where this salmon will be grown, they will not have this ability when eating out or buying at a fish store,” Hansen said.

Contact: Michael McCauley,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 415-431-6747, ext 126 or 415-902-9537 (cell) or Michael Hansen,  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 917-774-3801 (cell)
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2.Obama Administration Snubs Risks, Moves Forward With GE Salmon Approval
Center for Food Safety, December 21 2012 
 http://www.centerforfoodsafety.org/2012/12/21/obama-administration-snubs-risks-moves-forward-with-ge-salmon-approval/

*400,000 public comments, 40 Members of Congress ignored; 

*CFS calls proposed approval of first ever GE animal “premature and misguided”

Center for Food Safety sharply criticized today’s U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) announcement releasing an Environmental Assessment (EA) on the controversial AquaBounty AquaAdvantage® transgenic salmon.  The FDA action is widely viewed as confirmation that the Obama Administration is prepared to approve shortly the first genetically engineered (GE) animal intended for human consumption in the face of widespread opposition.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to push approval of this dangerous and unnecessary product,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for Center for Food Safety.  “The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value; it’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment.  FDA’s decision is premature and misguided.”

The FDA decision ignores calls from more than forty members of the U.S. Congress who have repeatedly urged FDA to conduct more rigorous review of environmental and health safety, and halt any approval process until concerns over risks, transparency and oversight have been fully satisfied.  The public filed nearly 400,000 comments demanding FDA reject this application.  Additionally, more than 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs and restaurants filed joint statements with FDA opposing approval.

AquaBounty claims that the company’s process for raising GE fish is safer than traditional aquaculture, yet documents released by the Canadian government show that a new strain of Infectious Salmon Anaemia, the deadly fish flu which has been devastating fish stocks around the world, contaminated their Canadian production site.  This information was not included in the FDA’s review and hidden from the public.  Many additional long standing concerns regarding impacts to wild species and the environment raised during a Senate hearing last year remain unanswered in the latest FDA review documents.

“We need a robust regulatory system that puts environmental, human health, economic and animal welfare risks first,” said Kimbrell. “Putting a GE animal on the path to consumer use without proper safeguards and with no mandatory labeling requirement proves that the system FDA has in place gives us none of that.”