U.S. FDA Chief Still Deciding: Is GMO Salmon Safe?

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gmo salmonGMO Salmon could ruin ocean life and human health, yet the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is still considering whether a proposed genetically engineered fish is safe for consumers. FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, the ‘Food Chief’ is still examining over 35,000 comments relating to AquaBounty Technologies Inc.’s new GMO salmon, awaiting approval for mass distribution.

AquaBounty applied for approval back in the 1990s, and is eager to have their version of genetically modified salmon approved, but what of the GMO issues we still haven’t addressed with GMO crops? The issues are hardly any different than those existing for GMO salmon. How do you keep genetically modified salmon from cross-breeding with non-GMO salmon once it is let loose, and how will consumers know what they will be eating if no labeling is required?

Kroger and Safeway, two of the largest grocery store chains in the United States, have already refused to sell AquaBounty’s salmon, but if the FDA approves it, how would they even know what they were selling consumers without labeling laws?

Hamburg told the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee during a hearing about the agency’s current initiatives, “We will be moving forward in a deliberate, science-driven way, reflecting all of the important inputs … as we consider this product application.”

AquaBounty expects a decision from the FDA any time now, as it was supposed to have word by the end of last year. Hamburg refused to comment on the decision timeline.

If approved, AdquAdvantage salmon would be the fist genetically modified animal product to be offered to consumers in the US. This, despite trials on safety being minimally conducted, even though the fish is bred to grow up to 100 times as fast as regular salmon. The long-term effects of GMO salmon on the environment and human health are still unknown. Considering the creation of super bugs with Monsanto’s RoundUp Ready crops, what is to prevent Super Fish, or other genetically mutated ocean creatures once these genetic alterations make their way into an ecosystem?

Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska told Hamburg she wanted assurances that the agency would not allow the fish to be sold if it could not determine it was safe. She also said if the agency does approve it, the fish should carry clear labeling to show it is genetically altered.

She stated:

“I don’t believe that the FDA has adequately studied the environmental effects, the economic impacts … let alone the potential health impacts on humans…If we could guarantee that it wasn’t safe to eat, then it would not pass our approval standards.” 

How, though, can Hamburg or the FDA guarantee that GMO salmon is safe?

Additional Sources:

DailyMail