Stop Unlabeled Genetically Engineered Salmon!

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FDA recently approved genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, with no labeling requirement. The AquAdvantage salmon, a combination of Atlantic salmon, chinook, and ocean eelpout, are the first-ever genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption.

FDA's own research* on AquAdvantage salmon shows that it is more disease-prone than non-GE Atlantic Salmon, increasing the likelihood that sick fish could infect native fish populations, especially in open aquaculture environments. At the Canadian test production site, the salmon were infected with a new, difficult to treat strain of infectious Salmon Anaemia, a deadly fish flu which has been devastating fish stocks around the world.

There are additional problems with AquAdvantage salmon. 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 potentially outcompete wild salmon and cause severe ecological damage.

But even if the dangers of producing or consuming genetically engineered salmon are found to be negligible, the American public deserves a chance to evaluate and decide for themselves. With no labeling requirement, consumers won't be able to choose whether or not to purchase GE salmon. If AquAdvantage salmon are truly a superior product, they should compete openly on the market.

*Source: Food and Drug Administration, AquAdvantage Salmon-Draft Environmental Assessment, 4 May 2012, p.40

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