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3 Reasons Federal Scientists Fear Genetically Engineered Salmon

3 Reasons Federal Scientists Fear Genetically Engineered Salmon

Consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch recently acquired numerous internal documents and emails from the U.S. Department of Interior’s Fish & Wildlife Service that expose scientists’ startling concerns regarding AquaBounty salmon – a controversial genetically engineered fish the FDA may soon approve as the first GE food animal for human consumption.

Sign the petition: Say NO to Frankenfish Salmon!

This news comes fast on the heels of last week’s startling announcement that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration knowingly withheld vital information during recent hearings regarding the approval of GE salmon.

The internal documents, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, revealed that the FDA had still not adequately fulfilled a requirement under the Endangered Species Act to consult with both FWS and another federal agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), to determine whether approval of AquaBounty’s salmon might impact wild, endangered Atlantic salmon.

Here are some of the scientists’ biggest fears:

1. GMO salmon won’t be sterile.

“…there is no data to support the claims of low survival in the event of escape, which I agree with you all is a big concern.  I also agree…that using triploid fish [which AquaBounty claim have undergone a sterilization process] is not foolproof.  Maybe they [the FDA] should watch Jurassic Park.” Denise Hawkins, PhD, FWS Regional Geneticist in a September email to a coworker.

2. GMO salmon won’t be grown in closed systems.

According to FWS internal emails, contrary to AquaBounty’s claims that GE salmon would be grown in closed systems (and therefore unable to escape), FWS employees received news of a proposal to grow the fish in a facility that would discharge into the ocean off the coast of Maine.

“No matter what precautions you take, fish escape and once they do, there is no closing that door. So, that being said, I think it is very bad precedent to set,” said one FWS program supervisor.

3. The FDA’s review process is bogus.

“The proposal [to approve AquaBounty salmon] also presents a situation where FDA, whose jurisdiction is not focused on natural resources, is entrusted with the authority to approve an application which poses such a threat to the country’s natural resources.” Jeff Adams, FWS branch chief.

At least 30 House members and 13 senators have expressed concern with the FDA’s review process, with many calling for the outright prohibition of GE salmon. Despite the outcry, the FDA is closing a public comment period on Nov. 22 and could approve the product as soon as Nov. 23.

If these scientists are worried, the public should be terrified that AquaBounty’s GE salmon might soon be released into American waters and supermarkets.

For more information, see both Food & Water Watch’s letter to the FDA (sent today) to halt GE salmon based on scientists’ concerns and the actual Fish & Wildlife Service internal emails.

Sign the petition: Say NO to Frankenfish Salmon!

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Image Credit: Steve Greenberg

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79 comments

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5:42AM PDT on Apr 9, 2012

Of all the genetically modifified foods, to do this with live animals is the WORST plan.
These fish will grow huge and overtake other fish and wild salmon in tooooo short a time.
They will in fact be predators that will affect our oceans adversely and we will lose oceanic biodiversity. These fish will be too large to stay confined.
I will not eat farmed salmon no matter how pretty it looks displayed in grocery stores. Firstly, the colour of farmed fish is synthetically produced....they are actually WHITE. Now if that scares you, then take GE fish out to really scare you.
There is only one chain of grocery stores that label fresh fish as farmed or wild. I always ask other stores and will NOT buy farmed fish, hence I buy frozen wild fish.
This is BIG business, so do not expect politcal will to stop this from happening. It is up to us, the consumers to reject.

1:11PM PDT on Apr 8, 2012

Say no to Frankenfood?

But, i love frankenbeans !

10:21AM PST on Jan 29, 2011

it is interesting that the same public that is horrified by genetically engineered ANIMALS has been ingesting genetically engineered crops for years and hybridized fruits and vegetables for centuries without a clue or concern to the profound effect on the natural ecosystems that these plants replace.

Not to mention that apples selected for shelf life, strawberries for size and tomatoes for growth in the hothouse haven't been modified for flavor, so are actually tasteless compared to their heirloom counterparts I grew up eating as a child - back when growers were concerned with flavor, I guess. Or that corn grown with its own insecticides kills bees and monarch butterflies along with those pesky insects that OMG, eat the corn.

We have beef and chicken packed with hormones that make us fat when we eat them, why not bypass the additives altogether and put the bad stuff directly in the genetics? They'll grow faster and fatter, with less and less flavor and destroy the ecosystem to boot. That is a home run.

11:04PM PST on Dec 20, 2010

THANKS

11:22PM PST on Nov 27, 2010

already signed this petition.....thanx for post

5:06PM PST on Nov 23, 2010

A 43-page study released by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) reveals that since the inception of genetically modified (GM or GMO) crops, no significant increases in crop yields can be attributed to them. Monsanto and Bill Gates are on a mission to decrease the population of the planet by 15%. There are a multitude of tools available to them to accomplish their purpose. GMO foods damage internal organs, and change the natural bacteria of your intestinal tract that constitutes a major part of your immune system. After eating GMO foods, your body will literally produce pesticides. If your immune system is damaged, then you are much more likely to succomb to an artificially created plague of flu or other manufactured disease. Vaccinations also damage your immune system and can cause brain damage as well as other health problems. It is fobidden for supplements companies to inform you that vitamin D is a far more powerful substance for keeping you healthy than a flu shot. Radiation equipment at airports emit ionizing radiation--the same as a CT scan and a mamogram--and is now revealed to cause cancer. This sure seems to be a concerted effort to decrease the population. GMOs are just one link in the chain. But if we can stop this link, maybe the chain will fail. Wake up people, never think the government really wants everyone to be safe. Only the select few. The rest of us must fend for ourselves.

1:28PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

SO EVERYONE IS LYING TO US...CERTAIN GOVERNMENT ENTITIES, AND OF COURSE, THE COMPLETELY INSANE GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SALMON SCIENTISTS. THEY ARE GOING TO STUFF THESE THINGS DOWN OUR THROATS COME HELL OR HIGHWATER...AND THE WAY THINGS ARE GOING WE WILL BE EXPERIENCING BOTH VERY SOON. THE MAJORITY OF AMERICAN CITIZENS HAVE NO CLUE ABOUT MOST OF THIS...AND WE ARE BEING LED LIKE LAMBS TO A SLAUGTHER BY WHAT AMOUNTS TO A MONOPOLY OF OUR FOOD BY ABOUT 5 OR 6 COMPANIES.

1:03PM PST on Nov 19, 2010

If it's going to be out there it needs to be labeled.

9:03PM PST on Nov 18, 2010

Obama appointed a Monsanto exec as the head of the Dept of Agriculture. I watched lots of documentaries on this topic and GMO have been railroaded down the public's throat. In a democracy I think it is the right of the people to know what they are eating. Demand that all food be labeled. Say it's your religion not to eat GMO food. Frankly none of the claims initially made by Monsanto now stand including that GMO's crops have higher yield. Their are now super weeds resistant to roundup pesticide. GMO plants have been found in the wild. South Africa has had GMO crop failures. This is corporate greed in all its glory. Wait 10 years and see what happens with your salmon industry. Of course hindsight is everything.

4:16PM PST on Nov 18, 2010

Shudder, shudder...and to think they are getting away with this, There will be even more genetically modified food as if there is not enough already. I doubt governments will stop these practices as for years they have been looking for ways to supplement in case of huge food shortages and of course to make up for all the damages they have done to the earth.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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