NEWS: Broderick attends FDA hearings on GM salmon

Brent Patterson
10 years ago

A Canadian Biotechnology Action Network media release issued on September 16 states, "The (US Food and Drug Administration) has preliminarily concluded that the GE salmon is safe but won't make a final decision until after public hearings September 19 and 20. On September 21, the FDA will also hold a hearing on the question of labeling the GE fish. Leo Broderick of Prince Edward Island and Vice-chair of the Council of Canadians will travel to Maryland to attend the hearings where dozens of US groups will testify about the problems with the GE salmon and the gaps in the science." The New York Times reported yesterday (September 24) that after these hearings, "The timetable for approval of the salmon is not clear. FDA advisers have faulted some studies that the agency used to conclude that the salmon was safe for people and the environment, though they did not say the fish was dangerous. If the FDA were to now order AquaBounty Technologies to do more studies, any approval could be delayed by months." The Times also reports that, "If it is allowed to be sold in supermarkets, some consumer and environmental groups want it to be labeled as just that — so the engineered salmon cannot be mistaken for the regular fish. ...The FDA made no ruling on the labeling, but officials made clear that the agency was not permitted to change the label on a food merely because it was genetically engineered."

Broderick appeared in numerous media reports on this issue including in the Toronto Star, the Vancouver Sun, the Winnipeg Free Press, the Charlottetown Guardian, and the CBC. On September 20, the Toronto Star reported that, "On Thursday (September 16), a small group of environmentalists and health groups gathered outside AquaBounty’s facility in Bay Fortune, P.E.I., to denounce its plans. Spokesman Leo Broderick, who is also vice-chairman of the Council of Canadians, says he’s concerned that Canada hasn’t been consulted about the program. 'If the U.S. approves GE salmon, P.E.I. could soon become known around the world as the home of Frankensalmon,' Broderick said in a release."

This Associated Press/ Canadian Press report ran in other newspapers and also noted that, "Broderick says he plans to attend public hearings in Maryland Sept. 19-20." On September 17, the Vancouver Sun and other Postmedia News newspapers reported that, "In Bay Fortune, islander Leo Broderick, vice-chairman of the Council of Canadians, said he's attending the U.S. hearings because they 'could have a big impact on P.E.I. and Canada, and I think someone from Canada and [the] Island should be there. If the U.S. approves GE salmon, P.E.I. could soon become known around the world as the home of Frankensalmon,' Broderick said."

Also on September 17, the Charlottetown Guardian reported, "Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians will be making the trip to Washington for the hearings on Sept. 19 and 20 to voice the concerns of Island groups such as Earth Action, the P.E.I. Health Coalition and the Council of Canadians." And on September 16, CBC.ca reported that, "A handful of environmentalists and health advocates on Prince Edward Island are trying to stop the United States government from approving genetically modified salmon for the local food market. ...Environmentalists and health advocates gathered Thursday outside the Aqua Bounty plant in Bay Fortune, P.E.I, where genetically modified salmon eggs are produced. They want to stop the salmon from getting to market. 'The science is sloppy; it's flawed,' said community activist Leo Broderick. 'And, therefore, the FDA must reject it.' The activists are concerned that not enough salmon were tested by the FDA or for a long enough period of time. They're also worried that genetically modified salmon could mix with wild fish populations and harm the latter. 'There is a small opportunity that the FDA may not give approval if the voices are strong enough from across the United States and Canada,' Broderick said.

The FDA will be holding public hearings on the issue on Sunday and Monday in Maryland. Broderick plans to go to the hearings to make his argument against genetically modified salmon." Our September 10 campaign blog 'UPDATE: Broderick to attend FDA hearings on GM salmon' can be read at http://canadians.org/search/node/aquabounty.