GE Salmon Just Approved for Sale in US

The conditional salmon approval, combining genes from 3 fish including the ocean pout (eel-like bottom feeder), was finally given the go-ahead by the Obama Administration, providing the fish are raised in 2 specific land based hatcheries outside US borders in Panama and Canada.  The FDA application submitted in 1996, was finally approved with conditions going into a quiet holiday weekend.  Public and scientist issues, including fish allergenicity, cancer issues, GMO gene contamination of native salmon species, and other study data concerns,  had resulted in about 2 million comments opposing the FDA approval.  Some states have restrictions on the salmon, including Alaska and other states that pass mandatory GMO labeling laws, Michigan and those states which prohibit or otherwise restrict transgenic fish.

Is the salmon a food or a drug?  The lab-created fish was submitted as a New Animal Drug Application and fell under Veterinary Medicine Committee purview, in the absence of an adequate genetically engineered animal review process at FDA.  According to Food and Water Watch, testing of individual fish was limited to a small data pool, not a particularly robust study model.  While many supermarkets have already said they will not carry it, will the consumer bite and buy this new GMO food if supermarkets decide to sell it?  The consumer should have the final word on commercial success if their wallets remain closed.  However, GMO salmon could find an unlabeled back door entry into the human and animal food supply chain if there is no mandatory GMO labeling. And the FDA budget for food inspectors is already very limited. The Center for Food Safety is suing FDA to block the unusual GMO salmon approval.



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