Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, criticized the Environmental Assessment (EA) of the Aquabounty genetically engineered salmon released today by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as flawed and inadequate.
"The EA states that the FDA has found that the salmon is safe to eat. However, we are deeply concerned that the potential of these fish to cause allergic reactions has not been adequately researched. FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six engineered fish--tests that actually did show an increase in allergy-causing potential," stated Michael Hansen PhD, Senior Scientist with Consumers Union. "Further, there have been no safety testing of fish grown in Panama, where Aquabounty intends to raise the salmon. The health and safety of fish can be affected by growing conditions."
"We are also concerned that FDA puts great weight, in their finding of 'no significant impact' on the fact that the engineered salmon would be sterile females. However FDA indicates that only 95 percent of the salmon may be sterile, and the rest fertile. When you are talking about millions of fish, even one percent comes to thousands of fish. Moreover, perhaps even more important, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada would obviously not be sterile--otherwise they could not produce eggs," Hansen states.
"We are further concerned that consumers will in many cases not have any way to avoid this fish if they want to. While salmon is required by law to be labeled as to country of origin in supermarkets, this does not apply to fish markets or restaurants. While in supermarkets consumers could avoid fish from Panama, where this salmon will be grown, they will not have this ability when eating out or buying at a fish store," Hansen said.
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