GM-Salmon

Ronald Stotish, Ph.D., president and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, responded to a measure passed by the U.S. House of Representative on Wednesday that would essentially prohibit the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption.

Slipped into an agriculture-spending bill as an amendment, the measure is sponsored by Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, and Lynn Woolsey, D-Calif.

Several legislators — as well as organizations representing, chefs, retailers, fishermen and environmentalists — have publically opposed GM salmon since the FDA scientists last September preliminary determined that the GM salmon developed by Waltham, Mass., biotechnology firm AquaBounty Technologies, called AquAdvantage Salmon, is safe for human consumption. (An FDA advisory committee has since determined that more research is needed.)

On Friday, Stotish said the FDA has conducted a “rigorous” 15-year review of thousands of pages of data and concluded that “these fish are exactly the same as any other Atlantic salmon and, therefore, are safe for consumption.”

“This outrageous action is wrong on the facts, wrong on the process and wrong on the policy,” said Stotish. “A handful of representatives have chosen to subvert the FDA’s rigorous 15-year plus process. It completely ignores the results of a rigorous scientific review. This sort of political gamesmanship undermines the science-based system that protects the nation’s health and safety.”

Stotish pointed out that fewer than 10 representatives voted on the measure. The farm-spending bill that its included in is expected to be passed by the House this week, though the Senate hasn’t yet weighed in on the issue.

“It is astonishing that Young and a few colleagues would try to game the system in this way,” he continued. “Whether or not you support this transgenic salmon, we should all agree these types of shenanigans have no place in a complex scientific debate. These actions threaten the fundamental basis of a science-based regulatory process. Americans deserve better from their elected representatives.”

Click here to read an September 2010 SeafoodSource interview with Stotish and here for a February 2009 interview.

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