After 11 hours of deliberation, FDA is delaying its decision on Aqua Bounty Technology’s (ABTX) genetically engineered salmon…for now. It is unclear as to when the agency will decide but at least, it promises to investigate further before approving the company’s technology of breeding genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.
According to Center for Food Safety (CFS), however, FDA is misguided in thinking that GE salmon is safe for human consumption and that it is still considering approving it after hearing ABTX’s data. Furthermore, CFS Senior Staff Attorney George Kimbrell stated, “After the numerous concerns raised by the VMAC (yesterday), it is inappropriate to hold a hearing on the labeling of a product the Agency has yet to approve.” and holding a 60 day public hearing period for GE salmon labeling issue as “a backwards process at best and a dog and pony show at worst – labeling is not an adequate substitution for proper regulation and safety assessments.”
In anticipation of the public hearing that were held on September 19-20th, over 300 environmental, consumer, health, animal welfare organizations, salmon and fishing groups and associations, food companies, chefs and restaurants sen joint letters and petition to the FDA opposing the approval of Aqua Bounty’s GE salmon. And 172,000 public comments from individuals urging clear, mandatory labeling should the fish be approved despite overwhelming public opposition were submitted.
So, where are we now?
Well, in response to the public’s outcry over the short public comment period on the approval of GE salmon itself, FDA announced that after the VMAC meetings, the Agency plans to publish the final environmental assessment (EA) as well as issue a notice in the Federal Register establishing a 30-day public comment period on the EA.
Also, the public hearing period for the labeling issue will end on November 22nd, 2010. You can submit your comment about the labeling issues here.