Newswise — Jillian Fry, PhD, MPH, Director of the Public Health and Sustainable Aquaculture Project at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, is available to comment on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s decision earlier today to approve genetically engineered (GE) salmon for human consumption.
This is the first genetically engineered food animal approved by the FDA. The AquAdvantage salmon is produced by AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts biotechnology company. It’s not yet known when genetically modified salmon could appear in U.S. grocery stores.
The matter has been under consideration by the FDA for several years. The Center for a Livable Future, in comments to the FDA in 2010 and 2013, raised serious public health as well as ecological concerns about allowing GE food to market in the U.S. Concerns include allergic reactions and introduction of the fish into natural ecosystems.
“We’re very concerned that the FDA’s approval of GE salmon was based on a process that was not designed to evaluate the full extent of potential health risks associated with production and consumption of a genetically engineered animal,” says Fry. Of particular concern is the FDA’s decision not to require labeling of the first GE animal approved to enter the U.S. food supply. Not only will this confound consumers, some of whom may want to avoid genetically engineered salmon, it will make it challenging for public health officials and even the FDA itself to track potential food safety impacts.
Other countries may follow FDA’s lead in approving GE salmon. It is presently produced in Panama.
Fry has written about food safety and food systems. She has provided expert comment to outlets ranging from The New York Times to CNN.