In a time when consumers want and deserve transparency in our food system, the only thing transparent about the FDA’s approval of genetically engineered salmon is that the FDA does not work for the people of this country, but rather is a subsidiary of the biotech industry.  The FDA has completely ignored consumer concerns about genetically engineered salmon and accepted science put forth by the company set to benefit from the sale of the GE salmon, Aquabounty.  The FDA received over 2 million public comments in opposition to GE salmon, but we were silenced by the extreme lobbying expenditures from the industry.  The biotech industry spent $550 million between 1999 and 2009 lobbying for favorable rules and regulations.

At a press conference in Connecticut, Senator Richard Blumenthal stated the following: “The FDA’s approval of genetically engineered salmon — the first ever genetically altered animal to be sold in U.S. supermarkets — opens the flood gates to more IMG_5538-1modified meats and seafood being sold nationwide without a label. Consumers have a right to know whether their food has been genetically engineered so they can make informed choices about what they eat and purchase. FDA’s action is a major step backward for transparency, making it all the more urgent for Congress to act now to require clear, consistent, and mandatory labeling of genetically engineered foods.” Watch some coverage of the press conference by CLICKING HERE.

We simply want a label.  It is questionable as to whether we should be genetically engineering animals at all, but at a minimum, put a label on it!  As the first genetically engineered animal is introduced into the market, we see history repeating itself.  An entire generation of genetically engineered crops were introduced into our food supply in 1996 without our knowledge or consent.  Now, it appears the same pattern may repeat itself with genetically engineered animals.  Americans should be able to dictate whether there is an appetite for genetically engineered animals.  But without labeling, that choice will not be ours to make.

With the introduction of GE salmon, labeling advocates will find new allies in this fight.  Barbara Gordon, Executive Director of the CT Seafood Council believes “genetically altered salmon is completely unnecessary and questionable as to its’ long-term effects.”  In addition she states “There is plenty of wonderful salmon available, both wild and farm-raised, no need to rush its’ growth.  With growing awareness of how we eat affects our health, adding hormones to natural food is simply not a risk worth taking.  Those of us who appreciate the delicious natural bounty of the sea want it kept that way.”

The time to label GMOs was decades ago.  Americans should be questioning whether the FDA has the welfare of Americans in mind when making such reckless decisions such as putting GE animals on the market at all let alone without any labeling.  Please use your voice.  Tell your friends, speak to your supermarkets and call all your elected officials.  The biotech industry may have a bottomless pit of money, but we have people.  Let’s continue waking up this country!  Consider calling President Obama today  at 202-456-1111 and tell him that the FDA has failed the people of this country.

About the Author
Tara Cook-Littman