Lawsuit challenges GE salmon approval
This article was originally published in May 2016
A broad coalition of environmental, consumer and fishing organizations in March sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approving GE salmon, the first-ever GE food animal.
The lawsuit challenges the FDA’s claim that it has authority to approve and regulate GE animals as new “animal drugs” under the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Those provisions were meant to ensure the safety of veterinary drugs administered to treat disease in livestock; they were not intended to address entirely new GE animals as “animal drugs.” The FDA’s approval of GE salmon opens the door to other GE fish and shellfish, as well as chickens, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits and pigs that reportedly are in development.
The suit also highlights the FDA’s failure to analyze and prevent risks to wild salmon and the environment, and fishing communities, as required by federal law.
The world’s preeminent experts on GE fish and risk assessment, as well as biologists at U.S. wildlife agencies charged with protecting fish and wildlife, heavily criticized the FDA decision for failing to evaluate the impacts. The FDA ignored their concerns in the final approval.