Frankenfish Could Be Close to Approval!

GE SalmonThe FDA’s flawed environmental assessment deliberately omitted critical information. Action Alert!

On December 21, under cover of the holidays and hoping for as little media attention as possible, the FDA released an environmental assessment (EA) of AquaBounty’s “AquAdvantage” transgenic salmon, which we dubbed “Frankenfish” back in 2010). This assessment stated that the genetically engineered salmon would have “no significant impact” on the US environment—thus pushing the fish one step closer to approval.
The FDA’s analysis, however, is deeply flawed in that it looked only at the impact it might have on the US environment. The FDA is not required to look at environmental impacts in foreign nations, even though the salmon is created in Canada and raised in Panama! That’s why an EA is insufficient and a full Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is necessary: an EIS is far more detailed, and takes into account environmental impacts beyond US borders, exactly what the government wanted to avoid.
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 Anemia (ISA), the deadly “flu” that has been devastating fish stocks around the world, contaminated the company’s Prince Edward Island facility in 2009. This caused AquaBounty to cull much of its broodstock and lose its “fish health” certificate from the Canadian authorities (thus barring exports of the fish); the company only regained the certificate in November 2011. None of this information was included in the FDA’s report.
The EA, which relies heavily on data provided by AquaBounty, also fails to mention the fact that up to five percent of the fish may be fertile, when we were assured they would all be sterile. The genetically engineered fish could easily escape into local waterways and wreak havoc on the ecosystem and our already-threatened wild salmon populations.
The timing of the report is also suspect beyond the holiday cover. The EA is dated May 2012, but it was released after the election, so it could not affect the president’s electability (GMOs are controversial among Obama’s political base). The report’s failure to include vital health and environmental information flies in the face of the White House’s 2009 science integrity memo pledging that political officials would not suppress scientific findings and conclusions.
The FDA’s assessment was released in support of AquaBounty’s NDA, or New Drug Application, for the salmon. Most people don’t realize that there is no regulatory process for approving genetically engineered animals in the US; this is most likely so they can avoid extensive scrutiny. Although the review of GE animals is shoehorned into the New Drug Application process, the oversight of GE animals is insufficient and never even looks at the impact on the health of humans who eat GE animals.
The EA also ignores the urging of more than 40 members of Congress to conduct a more rigorous review of the salmon’s environmental and health safety. The public filed nearly 400,000 comments demanding FDA reject this application, and 300 environmental, consumer, health and animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, and chefs and restaurants filed joint statements with FDA opposing approval of the salmon. Public outcry apparently means nothing in today’s crony capitalist environment!
Approval of the salmon will open the floodgates for other genetically engineered animals, including pigs and cows. AquaBounty’s largest shareholder—the company that bailed them out of their financial woes—is the biotech company Intrexon. Its senior VP and head of animal sciences is Thomas Kasser, a twenty-year veteran of Monsanto Choice Genetics, where he worked on recombinant bovine growth hormone (rBGH); he is also a former vice-president of Pfizer and McDonalds.
Action Alert! We now have a 60-day comment period, after which FDA must respond to the comments and issue a final disposition. Tell FDA to conduct a more rigorous review of environmental and health safety, and halt any approval process until concerns over risks, transparency, and oversight have been fully satisfied. Explain the safety concerns with GMO foods in general and this “Frankenfish” in particular. Take action now!

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  1. We cannot afford to have our wild salmon, already endangered from pollution, bad stream management(clear cutting of forests down to the water) and warming water from climate change, further endangered by poorly tested genetically modified salmon. At risk is the entire population of all wild salmon species already at risk. Don’t let big agra destroy this important food source!!!

  2. Better and independent information must be used for determination of how our world will be changed if these are approved. I would recommend not to approve if the country they are to be imported from is having problems with them already.
    The FDA personal needs an overhall when they consistently ignore legitimate requests.

  3. It is simply outrageous to approve a genetically-modified salmon. A GE fish will cause all kinds of havoc–on human intestinal tracts, on the environment, on other REAL fish. Stop this silly GE tinkering with NATURE! We’ve got it good with what’s real; we do NOT want the PHONY STUFF!

  4. This is another area that the FDA has turned its head away from the natural fishing for the industral farmer.
    Get them to do their job instead of dticking their noses into things that isn’t in their field.

  5. How often have we consumers cry out loud ‘NO, we do NOT want FrankenFish – or any other GE foods/crops? ‘No significant risk’ still means there IS risk to the environment and to us! How much risk does ‘insignificant’ mean? Even 1% is too much!

  6. For some reason I cannot access your action alerts from my computer. This is the first time this has happened. Any other readers have this problem? Or am I just getting too suspicious? jane

  7. As to the safety concerns with GMO foodsl and “Frankenfish” in particular – it’s is beyond surreal to even contemplate defying them. In all respects of protecting sustainable life for ALL species – we must remain unified, motivated, and most importantly, increase our numbers by educating naysayers to come to their senses.

  8. You need to conduct further reviews of health and environmental safety. I will not eat GE food. Stop the greed and get on with the real food as nature intended. Do you eat this type of food. If so you better do some more reading on good nutrition. GE food is not good for your health.

  9. The Democrats, like the Republicans, have repeatedly shown their allegiance to the corporations that fund them, rather than to the American people. This frankenfish scandal is just more of the same.
    Yet another reason I voted straight Green Party. If more people did this, the Democrats would think twice before selling the American people out to the corporations.
    There are 400,000 of us who don’t want this genetically-modified CRAP rammed down our throats, unlabelled so we can’t avoid it! Surely with numbers like this we can think of something to do to the traitorous crooks at the FDA who are selling us out. Someone should get the names of these crooks, so we can send them a more personal message telling them how we feel!

  10. “By educating naysayers to come to their senses.”
    I am afraid the people behind GMO as well as those irradiating our food, poisoning our water with flurosilicate waste, destroying all beneficial bacteria in our food, driving all enzymes from our food supply and MANY other actions DESIGNED to give us a poisoned and inadequate food and supply.
    THEY know very well what they are doing and they control HHS, FDA and all the other “protectors” of we the people.

  11. This whole process for authorization of the GNO salmon by the FDA is another flawed action of the agency and seems like undertones of deliberate corner cutting exist to circumvent necessary testing to determine health and efficacy for human consumption. This no small step and needs further requirements of testing just like everyone needs to go through for approval of drugs (flawed also) .

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