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Salmon, genetic engineering

Mad about “Frankenfish” Salmon, Groups Sue FDA

By Food Safety Tech Staff
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Salmon, genetic engineering

This article was part of our April Fool’s edition. 15% of poll participants guessed that this story was fake. Nope! It’s true.

A group of organizations have united to file a lawsuit against FDA following the agency’s approval of the first-ever genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The salmon is made with the DNA from Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon and Arctic ocean eelpout.

Represented by counsel from the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, the coalition is challenging FDA’s claim to have authority to approve and regulate GE animals as “animal drugs” under the FD&C Act. The group is upset that approval of GE salmon also paves the way for the entrance of additional GE fish, shellfish and animals including chickens, cows, goats, pigs, sheep and rabbits into the market.

They are also concerned about the fact that accidental release of man-made salmon into the environment could threaten the natural population via mating or introduce new diseases. “Once they escape, you can’t put these transgenic fish back in the bag. They’re manufactured to outgrow wild salmon, and if they cross-breed, it could have irreversible impacts on the natural world,” said Dune Lankard, a salmon fisherman and the Center for Biological Diversity’s Alaska representative, in a press release. “This kind of dangerous tinkering could easily morph into a disaster for wild salmon that will be impossible to undo.”

The GE salmon has been developed by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. On its website, the company states that if salmon escape into the wild, there should not be an issue, because the fish are sterile. “Fish grown from AquAdvantage eggs are all female and sterile, making it impossible for them to breed among themselves and with other salmon. In addition, FDA approval requires them to be grown in physically contained land-based systems, further reducing any potential impact on wild populations.”

Golden Gate Salmon Association executive director John McManus, disagrees. “There’s never been a farmed salmon that hasn’t eventually escaped into the natural environment,” he stated. “Why should we believe that long term, these frankenfish won’t be the same?”