Tell the FDA: NO Frankenfish!


The first genetically engineered salmon - dubbed "frankenfish" - could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies' GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply.

Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered "frankenfish" for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA's Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon "flawed and inadequate."

Please sign the petition below if you agree that the FDA should reject AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon, at least until it completes further, more reliable safety testing.

What is frankenfish?

AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the "AquAdvantage" salmon by injecting a fragment of DNA from an ocean pout fish, which is a type of eel, along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilised Atlantic salmon egg. The result? A salmon that produces growth hormone year round, instead of only during warm weather. This allows the fish to reach market weight in just 18 months, instead of the usual three years.

What are the risks?

  1. Potential harm to human health. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six GE fish. Even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, according to Hansen. AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.
  2. Potential harm to wild salmon population. Only 95% of the AquAdvantage salmon may be sterile, the rest fertile. Plus, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will not be sterile. The FDA says the likelihood of the GE salmon escaping into the wild is "extremely remote" but gave little reassuring evidence to support that assumption. According to studies, the frankenfish eat five times more food than wild salmon, and have less fear of predators. All it would take is for some of these frankenfish to escape, and the world's wild salmon population would be at risk.
  3. Unlabeled. Without GMO labeling, consumers will not be able to avoid frankenfish when it arrives in grocery stores and fish markets.
  4. Less nutritious. GE salmon contains less Omega-3 fatty acids than non-GE salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are the "good" fat which has important health benefits.

 Additional Background

The FDA's 158-page Environmental Assessment was completed May 14, but was blocked from release by the White House, which waited until December 21 - well after the election.

The Environmental Assessment states that genetically engineered salmon will be adapted "to feeding on synthetic aquaculture diets." The FDA didn't explain what it meant by "synthetic aquaculture" or make any investigation into what the genetically engineered salmon would eat. Conventional farmed salmon can be fed byproducts from poultry processing, such as feathers, necks and intestines, and genetically modified soy and canola.

The FDA said that AquAdvantage does not pose a threat to the environment and is "as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon." But in its 5-page summary, the agency admits that it intentionally narrowed the scope of its analysis.

Since September 2010 there has been unprecedented pushback on plans to grow an engineered variant of farmed Atlantic salmon. Over 400,000 public comments in opposition have been sent to the FDA. Forty members of Congress called for a full Environmental Impact Statement before approval was granted.

Opponents argue that approval of frankenfish will pave the way for other genetically engineered animals for human consumption, which could raise serious questions about animal welfare.

The Ocean Conservancy opposes AquAdvantage salmon.

Intrexon Corporation owns a 48-percent stake in AquaBounty, the inventor of frankenfish. Intrexon is a biotechnology company focused on the industrial engineering of synthetic biology. Intrexon designs and produces novel and enhanced biological products and processes for protein production, agricultural biotechnology and animal science. The company boasts "unprecedented control over the function and output of living cells."

Sources

FDA Misses the Boat in Signaling Approval of Genetically-Engineered Salmon by George Leonard, December 22, 2012

Ready to Eat: The First GM Fish for the Dinner Table, by Steve Connor

FDA Quietly Pushes Through Genetically Modified Salmon over Christmas Break by Anthony Gucciardi

The Apocalypse is Here: FDA Clears Way for Fast-Growing GE Monster Salmon, by Susie Cagle

CU Says FDA Assessment of GE Salmon Is Flawed and Inadequate, by Michael McCauley

Intrexon to acquire 48% stake in AquaBounty

We need to keep fighting the pro-biotech, pro-Monsanto politics of the Obama Administration. Help us send as many public comments to the FDA as possible to try to stop genetically engineered salmon. Direct action is going to be necessary, too. If the Obama Administration stubbornly continues to hide behind the scientifically discredited Bush-Quayle doctrine of "substantial equivalence" claiming there isn't a "material" difference between genetically engineered and normal salmon, then we'll have no choice but to use every tactic we can muster to throw a wrench into the gears of the Frankenfoods Express.

Please sign the petition below today.  And, please forward this action alert to everyone you know. Thank you!



This petition has a goal of 100000 signatures
26-50 of 130809 signatures
Number Date Name Location
130784 1 week ago Ella Clark Sylmar, CA
130783 1 week ago Waqas Gill GA Food shortages are not a concern, simply making more money is. America, alone, throws away $165 worth of food annually. On a global scale, we throw away >1 billion tonnes of food and clean water ...
130782 1 week ago Kc Longberry Fort Wayne , IN
130781 1 week ago Lori Ann cammllarie fort wayne, IN
130780 1 week ago Anonymous CT
130779 1 week ago Aaron Butler Boise, ID Hello -
I am an Idaho fly-fisherman. I reject genetically altering salmon in any way, shape, or form. Our wild fish populations have already dwindled significantly and are continuing to experien
I will be watching your decision here closely.

Thank you,
Aaron Butler'); return false;">...
130778 1 week ago Judith Toftemark Newport, OR
130777 1 week ago Alek Hyra VA
130776 1 week ago Anonymous IN
130775 1 week ago jeffrey cammllarie Atlanta, GA
130774 1 week ago Anonymous Athens, GA
130773 1 week ago Joan Duerst Monona, WI while the intention may be to find ways to feed the world's hungry people more efficiently, it is important to know long term health and environmental effects of our food sources.
130772 1 week ago Ariana Cammllarie Athens, GA Nothing good will come from this. Long term.. we don't know the consequences!
130771 1 week ago susan white ME
130770 1 week ago John Bogart NH ... And then one escapes into the wild, a breeding population is formed, and the patent-infringement lawsuits commence. Please help stop the "ownership" of food crops and the re-feudalization of th...
130769 1 week ago K. Arnone Broklyn, NY
130768 2 weeks ago K. Arnone Broklyn, NY
130767 3 weeks ago Julie Ostoich Sacramento, CA
130766 3 weeks ago Anonymous Santa BArbara, CA
130765 3 weeks ago Anonymous Puyallup, WA
130764 4 weeks ago lilas giorgi ot
130763 1 month ago Anna Arms WI
130762 1 month ago Lawrence Merlino Saugerties, NY
130761 1 month ago Brian Pike Cypress, TX Monsanto, Bayer, Dow, Dupont, Sygenta.. these are domestic terrorist organizations, with Monsanto being the most criminal group on the planet.
130760 1 month ago Elnora Nikitina CA
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