Via the agency’s website, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that following an environmental assessment, genetically engineered salmon in the Atlantic would not affect the environment significantly.
The FDA publicly released the announcement on December 22 on its website and posted in its Federal Register on the 26th. The announcement has faced strong criticism, especially from the Consumers Union. It comes in relation to an application made by AquAdvantage, a subsidiary of Maynard, Massachusetts-based AquaBounty technologies. The GE salmon will be farmed/raised in Panama.
The posting in its Federal Register yesterday announced that the FDA would be receiving comments for the next 60 days from the public. Siobhan Delaney, the agency’s spokesperson made it very clear that its action did not clear all GE salmon, but only the particular type from this specific company. The environmental assessment was only a draft and hence it wasn’t an approval of the application and neither had they made final conclusions on the safety that the fish could have as food. The spokesperson said that the draft was just an interim step and no final decision had been made.
Yonkers, New York-based Consumers Union is an advocacy agency that has criticized the environmental assessment announcement, calling it inadequate and flawed. The senior scientist at the advocacy agency, Michael Hansen, said that there were some unanswered questions about the fish. The testing, Hansen said, had been done in different conditions from those in which it is expected to be raised. The raising will be in Panama, while testing was done on Prince Edward Island in Canada. Hansen said that the testing was inadequate and the sample size taken too small.