Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Genetically Engineered Salmon under Fire

On October 26, 2010 U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt its approval process for an Atlantic Salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies.

In a letter to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Senator Snowe said the FDA’s current review process, originally created to review applications for new animal drugs, was inadequate and inappropriate for the review at hand and urged the FDA to establish a targeted, detailed and transparent environmental review process for genetically engineered animals intended for human consumption, including a commitment to hold additional public hearings on the topic.

Senator Snowe’s letter also called on the FDA to pursue additional consultations with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Organization (NOAA) as required by law. “Transgenic fish have the potential to negatively affect our current wild capture fisheries, aquaculture operations, and other sectors of the economy that depend on healthy marine and freshwater ecosystems.

The critical letter is one of several recent blows against the plan to approve what opponents call "frankenfish". The Center for Food Safety (CFS) also released a press release argues which clams that the FDA knowingly withheld a Federal Biological Opinion by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) prohibiting the use of transgenic salmon in open-water net pens pursuant to the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA).

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