There's something eerie about genetically engineered salmon -- and it's more than a fear of the rise of Frankenfish. The real problem is what happens if genetically engineered fish escape into the wild.
Right now the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed to deregulate genetically engineered salmon -- which means they could end up in our rivers and oceans as well as on our plates.
Native salmon populations are already declining and struggling to survive; genetically engineered salmon entering their habitat could be devastating. There's a serious concern that genetically engineered salmon will create competition for native salmon and potentially spread diseases to wild populations.
Tell the FDA it needs to fully evaluate the impacts of genetically engineered salmon on the environment -- taking into consideration threats to wild salmon and their habitat. The agency should deny the request to deregulate genetically engineered salmon.
I urgently request that you deny the approval of genetically engineered salmon. There are potentially significant environmental impacts of deregulating genetically engineered fish, as well as public-health concerns. I'm opposed to genetically engineered fish deregulation because of the risk that they will to escape into the wild or end up on my plate.
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The claims that the genetically engineered salmon will be completely contained are unfounded. Farmed fish are known to escape from both land- and water-based facilities. Moreover, nearly all commercial production of salmon is done in open ocean net pens -- increasing the likelihood of escape.
I am concerned that genetically engineered salmon will pose a threat to already imperiled wild salmon populations. Escaped farmed salmon could outcompete native salmon and spread disease among wild populations. There's also a risk of spreading novel genetically engineered genes to native salmon populations with potentially harmful consequences.
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Adding insult to injury, we simply have too little scientific information about the human-health impacts of genetically engineered salmon. Some studies have shown that genetic engineering may increase the risk of toxicity and allergens in foods. The public has a right to know what it is eating, and right now there's no way to identify a genetically engineered salmon from its wild counterpart.
The FDA must fully analyze the impacts of genetically engineered salmon on human health, wild salmon populations and the ocean ecosystem. The potentially harmful impacts of escaped genetically engineered salmon must be fully disclosed; accordingly the proposed action should be denied.
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