Genetically engineered salmon are on a fast track to being the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption.
On Dec 21, 2012, the FDA released an official Environmental Assessment on genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon (made by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc.), indicating that they are prepared to approve the first genetically engineered animal intended for human consumption. The salmon is a combination of Atlantic Salmon, Chinook, and Ocean Eel Pout.
The FDA research on AquAdvantage salmon shows that it is more disease-prone than non-GE Atlantic Salmon, increasing the likelihood that sick fish would infect native fish populations. At the Canadian production site, the salmon were infected with a new strain of infectious Salmon Anaemia, a deadly fish flu which has been devastating fish stocks around the world. This information was released independently by the Canadian government and was not included in the FDA assessment.
There are additional problems with AquAdvantage salmon in the FDA research. First, the fish were shown to be up to 40% more likely to cause an allergic reaction in humans. Additionally, 5% of the fish presented as fertile - the FDA is partially basing their approval on the fish all being sterile females. If these fertile fish escape, they could outcompete wild salmon and cause severe ecological damage.
Even worse, consumers won't be abe to choose whether or not to purchase GE salmon because there is no labeling requirement.
The FDA has opened a 60 day comment period on the approval of the AquAdvantage salmon ending Feb 25, 2013 (Docket No. FDA–2011-N-0899). All signatures collected by this effort will be uploaded to the FDA website on that date.
Update: The FDA has extended the comment period to April 26, 2013. Email your friends and family today and ask them to sign now!