The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Canada Approves GMO Salmon
Canadian and U.S. environmental and consumer groups denounced Health Canada's approval of genetically engineered salmon created by AquaBounty Technologies Inc., a majority owned subsidiary of synthetic biology company Intrexon. This is the first-ever genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption in Canada, despite widespread public outcry, risks to wild salmon and an approval made with no public consultation or labeling.
This approval also comes despite the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans draft risk assessment that questions the health and welfare of AquaBounty Technologies Inc.'s genetically modified salmon. The draft risk assessment concluded that AquaBounty's GMO salmon are not only “more susceptible to Aeromonas salmonicida, a type of disease-causing bacteria," but exhibit “diminished growth rates" and “widely varied performance."
The Canadian agency's approval of GMO salmon follows the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) approval in November 2015. In the wake of controversy over the U.S. approval, the U.S. has put in place an import ban on GMO salmon until labeling standards are established.
“Health Canada's approval is irresponsible and disappointing. But regardless of this approval, there is no market for genetically engineered salmon," Dana Perls, food and technology campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S., said. “Consumers don't want to eat it and grocery stores won't sell it."
A large segment of the market has already rejected genetically engineered salmon. More than 60 grocery store chains (many with stores in Canada) have made commitments to not sell the GMO salmon, including Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Target, Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, Aldi and many others.
Seventy-five percent of respondents to a New York Times poll said they would not eat genetically engineered salmon and 1.8 million people sent letters to the FDA opposing approval of the so-called “frankenfish."
“Canadians could now be faced with the world's first GMO food animal, approved with no public consultation and no labeling," Lucy Sharratt, coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, said.
This announcement comes in the midst of a growing movement for GMO labeling at the state and federal level in the U.S.
AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon is genetically engineered with the DNA of an eel-like ocean pout. At least 35 other species of genetically engineered fish, along with chickens, pigs and cows, are currently under development and Health Canada's decision on this genetically engineered salmon application sets a precedent for other genetically engineered fish and animals.
A growing body of science suggests that GMO salmon may pose serious environmental and public health risks, including potentially irreversible damage to wild salmon populations.
“GM salmon production threatens the future of wild Atlantic salmon," Calinda Brown of the Ecology Action Centre said. “Retailers can protect consumers and the environment by making sure this GM fish never makes it to grocery store shelves."
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Cathy Brown
Most of us have heard about UN researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.
Losing weight, improving heart health and decreasing your chances for metabolic diseases like diabetes may be as simple as cutting back on a handful of Oreos or saying no to a side of fries, according to a new study published in the journal The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.
It's important to remember that one person can make a difference. From teenagers to world-renowned scientists, individuals are inspiring positive shifts around the world. Maybe you won't become a hard-core activist, but this list of people below can inspire simple ways to kickstart better habits. Here are seven people advocating for a better planet.
Scotland produced enough power from wind turbines in the first half of 2019, that it could power Scotland twice over. Put another way, it's enough energy to power all of Scotland and most of Northern England, according to the BBC — an impressive step for the United Kingdom, which pledged to be carbon neutral in 30 years.
By Jessica A. Knoblauch
It's been a particularly terrible summer for bees. Recently, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced it is allowing the bee-killing pesticide sulfoxaflor back on the market. And just a few weeks prior, the USDA announced it is suspending data collection for its annual honeybee survey, which tracks honeybee populations across the U.S., providing critical information to farmers and scientists.
tommaso79 / iStock / Getty Images Plus
By Rachel Licker
As a new mom, I've had to think about heat safety in many new ways since pregnant women and young children are among the most vulnerable to extreme heat.