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Split opinions on GE salmon means FDA decision is stalled

By Stephanie Dearing     Sep 21, 2010 in Food
While the US Food and Drug Administration declined to make a decision on AquaBounty's genetically engineered salmon, AquAdvantage, opponents are not taking a break.
The Executive Director of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), Lucy Sharratt explained the FDA's position in a press release issued late Tuesday morning. "The committee could not avoid pointing to serious problems with the science. The FDA cannot approve the GE salmon after the committee has raised so many questions about its safety." The Center for Food Safety said the FDA was "beholden" to biotechnology companies.
If ever readers wondered if their opinion counts, The Center for Food Safety indicated the strong response from the public helped to stall a decision on the GE salmon. Over 160,000 comments were submitted, and in addition, some 300 organizations and individuals wrote and signed joint letters to the FDA to oppose approval of the salmon.
Reached by email on Tuesday, FDA spokesperson Siobhan DeLancey said confirmed the delay in making a decision on the GE salmon. She wrote, "Yes, there is no timeline on a decision on the application. We will first look at all the comments submitted by the public, as well as the suggestions from the panel. Before releasing a decision on the application, we would also publish an Environmental Assessment with a 30-day comment period. So, as you can see, it could be quite a while."
ABC News got the scoop on the story, saying the FDA refused to set a timeline as to when it would come to a conclusion on the technological salmon, which combines growth genes from a Chinook salmon with other genes from an eelpout to enable the salmon to grow faster than normal.
AquaBounty Chief Executive Officer Ron Stotish told ABC News that the FDA panel was "confused" by the large amounts of material presented, and also said the panel members "misinterpreted" the reports.
Hearings into labelling requirements for the salmon began Tuesday. The public my comment on labelling requirements until November 22. AquaBounty believes that should the fish be approved to sell commercially, it should not have to be labelled as being different from other fish reported Business Week.
More about Salmon, Aquabounty, Aquadvantage salmon, Food drug administration
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