Genetically-Modified Salmon Insufficiently Tested for Safety
The US Food and Drug Administration is in the process of assessing genetically-modified salmon created by the US-based corporation AquaBounty Technologies for possible approval for human consumption.
According to information on AquaBounty’s website: ”The FDA must provide premarket approval and examine the environmental impact of any genetically engineered food animal before it can be made available commercially. Extensive study is required before approval.”
But, not everyone agrees with AquaBounty’s statement. According to Senior Policy Analyst, Jaydee Hanson, at the Center for Food Safety, who testified before the FDA’s advisory committee, ”a test size of six fish is insufficient.“ He also advised the FDA that their safety assessments were inadequate on three levels: environmental, health, and labeling.
Hanson indicated that because the FDA’s advisory committee is made up of many university professors, he asked them, “What is an adequate sample size when conducting a study?” According to Hanson, they largely agreed that 200 is the minimum test size. Hanson asked: “I want you to look at the data that AquaBounty provided. Would you give a PhD degree if a student presented a test on only six fish?” Yet, this study on six genetically-modified fish is what is being used to determine the safety of the fish on environmental grounds by the FDA. He added that, “A high school student couldn‘t go to a regional or state science fair if he or she conducted a similar study.”
The same study has also been presented to Canadian regulators to obtain similar approval in Canada. AquaBounty produces its genetically-modified salmon eggs at a hatchery in Prince Edward Island, Canada. The company has already received approval from Environment Canada in November to commercially produce its genetically-modified salmon eggs in Canada.
According to some reports, AquaBounty first made its request to the US FDA 19 years ago, but the process appears to be inching closer to a decision. Environmental groups sent their signed petitions during the FDA’s public consultation. The Center for Food Safety sent a petition signed by nearly 2 million people asking the FDA to reject the application and disallow the selling of genetically-modified salmon. Care2 sent its petition with an additional 68,000 signatures. But environmental groups are asking people to continue telling the FDA not to allow the sale of genetically-modified fish before approval can be granted and create a precedent for future genetically-modified animals.
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