FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2012
Statement by Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch
WASHINGTON – December 21 – “Today, despite insufficient testing and widespread opposition, AquaBounty’s genetically engineered (GE) salmon took the final step towards becoming the first FDA-approved genetically engineered (GE) food animal. Today the Food and Drug Administration released its draft Environmental Assessment, clearing the way for this transgenic organism to be approved by the agency under its new animal drug approval process. Food & Water Watch is far from alone in condemning this historic decision – one that disregards numerous polls revealing that the vast majority of consumers oppose GE salmon. Over 40 members of Congress and scientists at other federal agencies, including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, have also voiced strong opposition to GE salmon, citing the lack of scientific rigor and expertise at the FDA.
“To add insult to injury, this product may be hitting the market without labeling, meaning that concerned consumers who have demanded labeling will be unable to identify GE from non-GE salmon. Not only does this ignore our fundamental right to know what we are putting on our plates, it is simply bad for business, as many will avoid purchasing any salmon for fear it is genetically engineered.
“The FDA, which has been tasked with protecting consumer safety, failed to conduct the appropriate studies to determine if it is safe to eat or even if the fish can live up to AquaBounty’s claim of faster growth rates. And, by releasing an environmental assessment instead of a more thorough environmental impact statement, the FDA failed to fully consider the threat this controversial new fish could pose to wild fish populations.
“Congress can still keep FDA from unleashing this dangerous experiment. Bipartisan legislation would ban the commercialization of this controversial fish. Food & Water Watch will be examining legal options to force FDA to do a more thorough assessment of this new GE food animal.