GE SalmonMost dog owners are aware of the necessity of supplementing their dog’s diet with fish oil, supplementation that wouldn’t be necessary if it weren’t for factory farming. To make things worse, your dog’s fish oil is about to be changed and not for the better.

Genetically Modified Salmon

What is genetically modified or engineered salmon? Scientists have spliced the genes from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout into the genome of the Atlantic salmon. These genes produce growth hormone year round, resulting in a fish that grows faster, cutting the time to reach market weight almost in half. This means cost savings for fish farmers,
leading to higher profits for the salmon farming industry and allegedly lower prices for consumers.

Colin O’Neil, director of government affairs for the Center for Food Safety, a nonprofit that has opposed GE salmon through its GE-Fish.org website, ever since manufacturer AquaBounty first sought approval for the animal’s introduction to the market, says the salmon is being approved as a “new animal drug.”

“That means that a lot of the impacts won’t go assessed,” O’Neil says. The new-animal-drug application process wasn’t designed to assess human health, he adds, so the FDA is using the company’s own two-week-long safety trial to assume that the fish is safe for human consumption.

AquaBounty insists that their creation poses no threat to wild salmon populations. But research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that a release of just sixty GE salmon into a wild population of 60,000 would lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 fish generations.

AquaBounty insists that their fish will be raised in controlled pens and will never be released into the ocean, and that besides, their fish will be sterile. But every year, millions of farmed fish escape from fish farms into the wild and the FDA found that 5% of these fish weren’t sterile.

What does this mean for your dog?

The FDA concluded the salmon to be “as safe as food from conventional, farmed Atlantic salmon.” Considering that the genetic makeup of the fish is a new creation, and there have been no studies conducted on the long term consumption of this salmon, the accuracy of this statement is yet to be seen.

The issue is further compounded by the fact that the GE salmon will be unlabeled. Alaska is the only state to have passed a law requiring labeling of GE salmon, in an effort to protect the wild Alaskan salmon industry, but no other state, nor the FDA, requires labeling.

Finally, the introduction of GE salmon is a slippery slope. If the FDA approves this salmon then GE pigs, chickens and cows won’t be far behind.

What you can do

Make sure that your dog’s fish oil is from wild salmon or choose another source such as krill oil or herring oil. In the US, federal law requires wild fish and farmed fish to be labeled as such, and GE salmon will qualify as farmed. This is only a short term solution however, as these GE salmon will escape into the wild and change wild salmon forever.

Take Action

Next, you can have a say on whether these GE fish are approved or not. The FDA is poised to give GE salmon the final stamp of approval on February 25th, 2013. US citizens have the opportunity to comment to the FDA, expressing their opposition to genetically engineered salmon.

Please speak up now!

Submit your comments to the FDA, urging it to halt approval of the GE salmon. Comments must be received by the FDA no later than February 25, 2013.

ONLINE

Go to http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2011-N-0899-0001

* There is a time limit on the government’s online system. We encourage you to write your comments and save them in a document on your computer, then copy and paste them into the online comment form or upload the file.

* For the required field “Organization Name,” please enter “Citizen.”

* Remember to hit “submit comment” when you are done.

BY MAIL:
Division of Dockets Management
(HFA- 305), Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852

Include the following docket number in your mailed comment: FDA-2011-N-0899.

SAMPLE COMMENT

Please personalize these comments! Include a personal statement about who you are or why you care about this issue at the beginning of your comments so that it’s not just a form letter. The personalization can be just a few sentences, but it does make a significant difference.

Docket FDA-2011-N-0899

I am writing to urge you not to approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The agency’s draft assessment does not adequately examine the risks posed by the first genetically engineered food animal, both to people and our environment.

First, the draft assessment does not adequately address the many potential food safety risks posed by GE salmon. There are potential human health impacts from both the increased levels of hormones and the increased allergenicity. The agency should not approve a genetically engineered food animal for commercial production and sale without independent, long-term studies on its health effects in people.

Second, the draft assessment also fails to adequately address the major environmental impacts of GE salmon. The agency assumed that the GE salmon would only be raised in the type of facility specified in the company’s application. But once approved, it is very likely that GE salmon will be raised in other, less secure, types of facilities, such as open net pens in the ocean. The persistent problem of escaped fish and the spread of diseases from commercial salmon farms where this GE salmon could one day be produced must be evaluated before approval.

I urge you to put human health, the environment, and the economic well-being of coastal fishing communities first. Please delay approval of GE salmon until the results of independent scientific studies show that genetically engineered fish is safe to eat and harmless to the environment.

Please also require the labeling of GE foods, to allow consumers to make an informed choice.

Sincerely,
Name

ADDITIONAL ACTION

If you would like to do more, please contact your legislators, asking them to block the approval of GE salmon.

To find contact information for your representative and two senators, go to:

* House of Representatives: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

* Senate: http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm

Call or email each of your legislators with the following message:

“My name is___, and I am a constituent. I urge you to take action to stop the approval of genetically engineered salmon by the FDA. There is absolutely no independent research showing that it is safe for people to consume this GE fish, both because of the increased levels of hormones in it and its altered DNA. To add the potential for harm, the salmon
wouldn’t even be labeled, so Americans won’t know what they’re eating. The fish also poses a threat to the health and economic viability of wild salmon and our coastal fishing communities. Please take action today to halt the agency’s approval process for GE salmon.”