Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Did the Canadian Government Break the Law by Approving GE Salmon?

Food
Did the Canadian Government Break the Law by Approving GE Salmon?

Center for Food Safety (CFS), Food & Water Watch and Friends of the Earth-U.S. commend Ecojustice, Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society for challenging the Canadian federal government’s approval of AquaBounty’s genetically engineered (GE) salmon.

The groups are asking the court to invalidate the assessment of AquaBounty's GE salmon, and require the government to comply with the law before permitting the production of GE organisms.

AquaBounty alleges that it will grow the GE salmon eggs in Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) and then transport them to Panama, where they will grow to full size and then be shipped back to U.S. markets. However, the approval would also allow the production and grow out of the genetically engineered salmon elsewhere in Canada. The controversial GE fish has been proposed for approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but the agency has yet to make a final decision.

“This case is an important step in preserving native salmon populations and the environment from an unwanted, untested, novel threat," said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director for CFS. “The short-sighted and unlawful approval by Canadian officials must be addressed, and we commend our colleagues in Canada for holding their government, and AquaBounty, accountable.” 

“Unfortunately, it looks like the Canadian government, like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, is failing to acknowledge the real threat GE salmon poses to the environment,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “Today’s challenge of the approval of GE salmon is an important effort to protect the public in both Canada and the U.S. from this unnecessary risk.”

The main legal arguments of the case are based on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The groups assert the approval is unlawful because, among other reasons, it failed to assess whether genetically engineered salmon will become invasive, putting ecosystems and species such as wild salmon at risk. The groups also alleged the government acted unlawfully in purporting to complete an assessment of whether AquAdvantage salmon is toxic or capable of becoming toxic without obtaining all information required by the law.

In addition, the groups allege the Minister of the Environment had no jurisdiction to publish a notice setting out permitted uses, based on the incomplete toxicity assessment of AquAdvantage salmon. The groups are asking the court to invalidate the assessment, and require the government to comply with the law before permitting the production of these genetically engineered organisms.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that Canadian and U.S. regulators are asleep at the wheel and are failing in their duty to conduct proper assessments that put people and the environment first,” said Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth-U.S. “It’s therefore not surprising that polls show the majority of consumers don’t want this risky fish.”

Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch and Friends of the Earth-US have long opposed the potential approval of GE salmon, successfully spearheading U.S. campaigns for over thirteen years. Most recently, in response to the latest FDA proposal, CFS filed extensive legal and scientific comments detailing why the proposal was contrary to sound science and responsible governance. Nearly 2 million people have filed objections to the FDA’s proposed approval.

Visit EcoWatch’s FOOD and GMO pages for more related news on this topic.

 

A Brood X cicada in 2004. Pmjacoby / CC BY-SA 3.0

Fifteen states are in for an unusually noisy spring.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A creative depiction of bigfoot in a forest. Nisian Hughes / Stone / Getty Images

Deep in the woods, a hairy, ape-like man is said to be living a quiet and secluded life. While some deny the creature's existence, others spend their lives trying to prove it.

Read More Show Less

Trending

President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer holds a press conference in Brussels, Belgium on Jan. 30, 2020. Dursun Aydemir / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

By Jon Queally

Noted author and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben was among the first to celebrate word that the president of the European Investment Bank on Wednesday openly declared, "To put it mildly, gas is over" — an admission that squares with what climate experts and economists have been saying for years if not decades.

Read More Show Less

A dwarf giraffe is seen in Uganda, Africa. Dr. Michael Brown, GCF

Nine feet tall is gigantic by human standards, but when researcher and conservationist Michael Brown spotted a giraffe in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park that measured nine feet, four inches, he was shocked.

Read More Show Less
Kelsey Mueller, 16, pets Ruby while waiting with her family to be escorted from the evacuation zone at the Shaver Lake Marina parking lot off of CA-168 during the Creek Fire on Sept. 7, 2020 in Shaver Lake, California. Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Daisy Simmons

In a wildfire, hurricane, or other disaster, people with pets should heed the Humane Society's advice: If it isn't safe for you, it isn't safe for your animals either.

Read More Show Less