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Despite Dubious Evidence of Safety, You May Soon Be Eating Unlabeled Genetically Engineered Salmon

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

On December 21, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a draft environmental assessment (EA) finding, in spite of much evidence to the contrary, that genetically engineered (GE) AquaAdvantage salmon pose no risk to the environment.

The document claimed that the fish "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States." It also claimed that the GE salmon, the first ever intended for human consumption in the United States, is unlikely to harm populations of wild salmon.

The finding occurs as the Obama administration is continuing and expanding some of the worst environmental policies of the Bush administration, including exporting record amounts of water out of the Delta, killing record numbers of fish at the Delta pumping facilities and promoting the privatization of the fisheries through the "catch shares" program.

The FDA made the finding in spite of a petition from conservation groups requesting that it complete a comprehensive environmental impact statement on the risks GE fish could present to the natural marine environment.

Earthjustice filed that petition in May 2011 on behalf of the Ocean Conservancy, Food & Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, the Center for International Environmental Law and Greenpeace.

"FDA's narrow analysis fails to seriously consider the risks these genetically engineered fish could pose to our natural environment," said Earthjustice attorney Khushi Desai. "If these fish mix with wild salmon, the ecological harm could be devastating. This genetically engineered fish puts the entire US salmon industry at risk, and most importantly it could threaten the very survival of our native salmon populations." 

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