The FDA will accept written comments on labeling until 22 November. (Photo: Stock File)
FDA to hold public hearing on GE salmon
Monday, September 20, 2010, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
The US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) will have a public hearing on the labelling of AquaBounty Technologies Inc’s genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon on Tuesday in Rockville, Maryland.
At the hearing FDA will explain the relevant legal principles for food labelling and seek information and views from anyone interested on the principles’ application to the labeling of food made from the company’s GE AquAdvantage Salmon, including naming of the food.
As part of the hearing, agency officials and members of the public will be making verbal presentations.
Afterward, the FDA will accept written comments on the labeling until 22 November.
In a separate event, FDA’s Centre for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) recently held a public Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) meeting on the safety and efficacy of the new drug subject of a New Animal Drug Application regarding AquaBounty’s GE salmon. The committee also received an orientation on general scientific issues pertaining to GE animals and the legal and regulatory constraints the agency must work by.
The FDA ruled the salmon safe environmentally and for human consumption after evaluating AquaBounty data such as inspections and site visit records, deducing that proper containment measures seem to be in place, both at the firm’s Prince Edward Island (PEI) and Panama plants, to minimise the probability of genetically modified (GM) salmon escapes into the wild at all life stages.
“There is a reasonable certainty of no harm from consumption of food from triploid [AquaBounty] salmon,” the FDA wrote in a report.
Meanwhile, Food & Water Watch and other concerned groups have sent a letter to the FDA demanding that it discontinue its mostly secretive approval process for the GE salmon, which could be sold as food by 2012 if it wins approval after the 60 day consultation period that begun at CVM’s VMAC meeting. Consumer, environmental, fishing, and animal welfare groups have all been asking the FDA to reject the transgenic fish.
Further, numerous restaurant chefs have stated that they would not serve GM fish due to moral concerns about private companies patenting organisms, about the potential health implications of GM food and concern for environmental effects.
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By Natalia Real