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NEWS: Opposition to Frankensalmon in US and Canada

The St. John’s Telegram reports that, “In a place built on fish five centuries ago, this is a fish tale like no other. Controversial salmon research pioneered at Memorial University decades ago is in the final stage of the U.S. approval process. The science sees genetically engineered fish grow twice as fast as wild salmon. If the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) gives it the go-ahead, the salmon will be the first genetically modified animal species OK’d for sale to Americans — a move that could open the floodgates to other engineered animals.” “In September 2010, the FDA declared AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon safe to eat and said it posed no environmental threat. The company’s quest and the FDA’s OK has been met with waves controversy. Some critics have dubbed it ‘Frankenfish’. They question the safety of eating genetically engineering salmon. One of the main consumption fears is that dangerous allergens could be present in the fish. Others wonder what will happen if the fish escape and breed with wild salmon.” “The detractors are in high places though. On Tuesday, Alaskan Senator Mark Begich said he’ll soon introduce legislation to prevent the FDA from rubber-stamping AquaBounty’s salmon. ‘Many call them Frankenfish for good reasons: a monster that threatens our wild stocks and their habitat, our food safety and economic harm to Alaska wild-salmon fishermen,’ Begich was quoted as saying at a marine science event in Anchorage.” “Outside the safety and ecological concerns, there is also a movement stateside to have AquaBounty’s fish labelled as being genetically modified, if the FDA approves it. A bill was introduced in California earlier this month to make such packaging mandatory.” “Most of the debate is happening in the U.S., but there is opposition in Canada, too. AquaBounty has a production facility in Prince Edward Island — it has an office in St. John’s, too — and a group opposing it met with P.E.I. Premier Robert Ghiz Jan. 13. ‘People all over the world are very concerned that Prince Edward Island will become the sole producer of the first genetically engineered (GE) animals, if in fact the United States does license it for the dinner plate,’ Leo Broderick of the Council of Canadians told The Guardian, The Telegram’s sister paper in Charlottetown, following the meeting with Ghiz. ‘It’s a black eye for the province. We do not need this distinction or designation as the home of the Frankensalmon.’” “Ron Stotish, president and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies,…wouldn’t hazard a guess as to when the FDA’s final decision might come down.” The article is at http://www.thetelegram.com/News/Local/2011-01-22/article-2149097/Frankenfish-or-Super-Salmon/1. For past campaign blogs on this, please go to http://canadians.org/search/node/aquabounty.Information on the Food & Water Watch ‘Stop Frankenfish’ campaign can be read at http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/fish/seafood/stop-frankenfish/.