FDA Sued Over Approval Of Genetically Engineered Salmon
• Plaintiffs argue the federal agency overstepped its authority in approving the genetically modified fish.
• Produced by AquaBounty Technologies, the salmon are engineered to grow twice as fast as wild species.
• Critics worry engineered salmon could prove disastrous for wild salmon populations.
The plaintiffs, represented by the Center for Food Safety and Earthjustice, argue that by green-lighting the first-ever genetically altered animal slated for human consumption, the FDA violated the law and ignored potential risks to wild salmon populations, the environment and fishing communities.
“That’s one of the major risks here, is the escape of these fish into the wild,” George Kimbrell, senior attorney for Center for Food Safety, told The Huffington Post. “It could be a final blow to our already imperiled salmon stocks.”
Produced by Massachusetts-based company AquaBounty Technologies, the AquAdvantage Salmon is an Atlantic salmon engineered with genes from a Pacific Chinook salmon and a deep water ocean eelpout to grow twice as fast as its conventional counterpart.
The 64-page lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, challenges whether the FDA has authority to regulate genetically modified animals as “animal drugs” under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. It also argues the agency failed to protect the environment and consult wildlife agencies in its review process, as required by federal law, CFS said in a release.
“I think it’s important to note that FDA has gone ahead with this approval over the objections of over 2 million Americans in the comment period,” Kimbrell told HuffPost.