The FDA may soon approve the sale of genetically engineered salmon in our supermarkets -- even though it's unclear what the long-term side effects will be on humans who eat it.
But there's something even fishier going on. The agency could put this salmon -- which reaches market size in half the time as conventional fish -- in stores without any special labeling. That means you might not know the difference between a genetically enhanced salmon and one that grew up naturally, leaving you in the dark about exactly what it is you are eating.
Bipartisan legislation has been filed to slow this process down and make sure any such products are labeled. Take a moment to tell your own federal lawmakers to support these bills and keep our food safe.
Genetically engineered (GE) fish should not be approved without further study, and if approved, should not be put on store shelves without clear labeling so I can decide whether to buy it. (S. 230/H.R. 521 and S. 229/H.R. 520).
The FDA could soon approve GE salmon for consumption, despite opposition from hundreds of thousands of Americans and hundreds of consumer and scientific organizations.
The fish contains a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon that is kept active all year round by a genetic on-switch from an eel-like fish called the ocean pout. It reaches full size twice as fast. Studies show that such salmon had ravenous appetites that out-competed and even ate native salmon in a laboratory environment. And despite efforts to achieve 100-per-cent female sterility, to prevent the spread of GE traits to wild fish, sterility remains between 97 to 99.8 per cent. That's not enough to protect our wild salmon populations.
The genetically engineered salmon may also pose increased risks of causing allergic reactions, according to Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports. While FDA has analyzed data on only twelve genetically engineered fish regarding their allergy potential, these data suggest that the engineered fish may have an increased potential to cause potentially life-threatening allergic responses in sensitive individuals, compared to conventional salmon.
Finally, if GE salmon is approved, I want labeling so that I can choose not to buy it. Our markets can't work if consumers don't have enough information to make informed purchasing decisions -- and in this case, without labeling the marketplace will not work.
As my lawmaker, I hope you will support the bipartisan effort to stop this approval and require labeling. Support S. 230/H.R. 521 and S. 229/H.R. 520.
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