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FDA to Review Safety of GE Salmon

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The Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing Monday to discuss the fate of genetically engineered salmon.

Specifically, the Atlantic salmon in question have been injected with growth hormones that will allow them to grow at twice the rate of conventional salmon, which normally take 30 months.

Although genetically engineered foods line the shelves of grocery stories already in the form of processed foods, the implications of the FDA ruling on whether or not GE salmon is safe are great – if approved, the GE salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption, which worries some critics.

According to the environmental advocacy group Center for Food Safety, the new transgenic salmon have a reduced ability to survive, meaning they will likely have to be given more antibiotics than other farm raised salmon, which already are given more antibiotics than other livestock by weight.  The group also contends that federal agencies are trying to regulate and govern biotechnology through laws written long before genetic engineering became reality.

Additionally, some fear that GE salmon will strain the ecosystem by competing with wild salmon for resources.  Citing research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, CFS that 60 fish released into a population of 60,000 wild salmon could “lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.”
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and WaterWatch tells CNN, “It’s impossible to talk about the risks other than saying they haven’t been properly assessed other than process has been rushed and we don’t know.”  She further added that the FDA is already a “stressed agency” because of recalls and outbreaks of late.

At the very least, environmental groups would like the FDA to further look into the threat to human health by demanding that further research be conducted to truly determine the efficacy of GE salmon. 

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