GENET archive

[Index][Thread]

RISK ASSESSMENT & APPROVAL: Alaska’s (USA) congressional delegation continues to genetically-engineered fish



                                  PART 1


------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED FISH

SOURCE:  The Dutch Harbor Fisherman, USA

AUTHOR:  

URL:     http://www.thedutchharborfisherman.com/article/1128opposition_continues_to

DATE:    15.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Alaska?s congressional delegation is keeping up its battle to keep genetically modified salmon off the market. Senators Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, joined six other senators on July 15 in signing a letter to the federal Food and Drug Administration, warning the agency not to dismiss the clear congressional opinion opposing approval of genetically modified salmon."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


OPPOSITION CONTINUES TO GENETICALLY-ENGINEERED FISH

Alaska?s congressional delegation is keeping up its battle to keep genetically modified salmon off the market.

Senators Mark Begich, D-Alaska, and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, joined six other senators on July 15 in signing a letter to the federal Food and Drug Administration, warning the agency not to dismiss the clear congressional opinion opposing approval of genetically modified salmon.

Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, was one of 15 members of the House who signed a similar letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, also on July 15.

The agency is considering an application by Aqua Bounty, Inc. to grow genetically-engineered salmon in Panama for importation into the United States, with plans to eventually grow the fish in the U.S.

The genetically-altered fish would grow faster than natural fish and there are serious concerns about the impact of escaped fish on wild salmon stocks, the suitability of such fish for human consumption, and the FDA?s approval process for the fish, Begich and Murkowski said.. 

?The FDA process is not the right one to fully evaluate the impacts of this new product,? Murkowski said. ?The effects of unlabeled GE salmon in the market place could be devastating if consumers are confused about buying salmon. 

?Even though we know that if it says Alaska, it is always going to wild, we have seen the markets respond to fear and confusion in the past. GE salmon could cause dramatic market impacts for wild salmon and this issue must at least be acknowledged, but FDA is completely ignoring it. I am prepared to do everything possible to prohibit funding for FDA approval of GE salmon in the Senate appropriations process,? she said.

Begich said that the FDA ?hasn?t considered all of the potential negative impacts of genetically-altered fish and the strong opposition in Congress to approving something that could decimate wild salmon populations. 

Recent scientific evidence shows that if genetically-modified salmon escape, they could successfully breed with wild stocks, potentially destroying the genetic adaptations that have allowed fish to thrive for millennia. Alaska wild salmon is abundant and sustainable. We don?t need Frankenfish threatening our fish populations and the coastal communities that rely on them,? Begich said.

The House letter signed by Young, and others, noted broad opposition to genetically engineered salmon, stemming from serious concerns regarding the review process being used by the FDA to review AquaBounty Technologies? application.

?At present the FDA does not have adequate means to assess the GE salmon as an animal intended for human consumption,? the House letter said.

?Furthermore, the environmental assessment, compiled by AquaBounty and reviewed by the FDA, is inherently flawed as it failed to take into account the full range of environmental and socio-economical risks that the proliferation of GE fish pose to wild fish, commercial and recreational fishermen, and natural ecosystems. 

?Rather than accept AquaBounty?s conclusions, the FDA should undertake and complete a full environmental impact statement, including fully consulting with other federal agencies with responsibility for protecting ocean ecosystems and federally listed endangered species,? the House members said.



                                  PART 2

------------------------------- GENET-news -------------------------------

TITLE:   ATAMANENKO: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SALMON, NOT WORTH THE RISK TO HEALTH OR THE ENVIRONMENT

SOURCE:  The Rossland Telegraph, Canada

AUTHOR:  Alex Atamanenko

URL:     http://rosslandtelegraph.com/news/general/atamanenko-genetically-engineered-salmon-not-worth-risk-health-or-environment-12664

DATE:    19.07.2011

SUMMARY: "Due to a technicality the US House of Representatives recently voted to block the US Food and Drug Administration approval of genetically modified salmon. The Conservative government, with its usual air of secrecy, is still refusing to disclose whether the company has asked for approvals in Canada. The FDA is regulating GE animals as ?new animal drugs?, however, the approval process lacks transparency."

----- archive: http://www.genet-info.org/information-services.html -----


ATAMANENKO: GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SALMON, NOT WORTH THE RISK TO HEALTH OR THE ENVIRONMENT

Alex Atamanenko is the MP for BC Southern Interior.

Aquabounty Technologies (AT), headquartered in the US, has genetically modified (GM) a faster growing Atlantic salmon by inserting a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon and genetic material from the eel-like ocean pout. The company?s business plan is to produce genetically modified salmon eggs in Prince Edward Island (PEI), ship the eggs for grow out and processing in Panama and then sell a ?table ready? product into the US consumer market.

Aquabounty says that the fish will be sterile but can only guarantee that 95% of the salmon with be unable to reproduce. Even worse, the company?s own data reveals this fish has less omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids than regular farmed salmon and doesn?t taste as good.

Due to a technicality the US House of Representatives recently voted to block the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of genetically modified salmon. The Conservative government, with its usual air of secrecy, is still refusing to disclose whether the company has asked for approvals in Canada.

The FDA is regulating GE animals as ?new animal drugs?, however, the approval process lacks transparency. The FDA?s preliminary conclusion was that the GM salmon is safe to eat and poses no environmental risk however, the US Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has contradicted this assessment and acknowledged that GM salmon could pose a significant risk to wild fish stocks.

According to Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at Consumers Union US, AT used insensitive tests to try and measure the GM salmon?s levels of growth hormone and the levels of IGF-1, a hormone linked to a number of cancers. ?The FDA is relying on woefully inadequate data. There is sloppy science, small sample sizes, and questionable practices.?

According to a report by the National Academy of Science, the inability to identify all potential problems early on and the difficulty of trying to solve problems after they arise are the greatest science?based concerns when it comes to the environmental issues surrounding GM animals. In the face of such uncertainty how can posing such a threat to thousands of years of Mother Nature?s work be in any way justified?

Wild salmon is carnivorous and the fast-growing GM salmon could consume up to five times more food than other farmed salmon. Any risk of them escaping into the wild is completely unacceptable. Mature farmed Atlantic salmon have already escaped their nets and been recorded in streams in BC. Human negligence and error is always the gorilla in the room when it comes to containing GM technologies.

NDP Fin Donnelly, MP will be reintroducing his motion which asks the government to explain its regulations and to set up a system to notify Canadians about any requests for approvals and approval decisions. The motion also asks the government to ?prevent the introduction of genetically modified salmon destined for human consumption into the Canadian food system until further scientific studies are concluded by the relevant departments to determine the impact of genetically modified salmon on human health and on the health of marine species, ecosystems and habitats.?

The aquaculture industry does not support the commercialization of GM fish because there is no market demand. In 2010 over 60 fisheries and oceans conservation, environmental and social justice groups signed a joint statement opposing GM fish.

Canadians have not been asked for their views on GM animals and it is clear that our regulations are not keeping up with the pace of GM technologies. I hope you will join me in calling for a moratorium on genetically engineered higher life-forms pending the outcome of a nation-wide consultation about the ethical implications of embarking down this inherently risky road.