There has never been a better time to assert your right to an informed choice in food. The FDA may be finalizing approval of genetically engineered salmon, the first GE animal for human consumption, and there is one team working hard for consumers’ rights to know. The Just Label It! Campaign is calling for support for their legal petition urging the FDA to require mandatory labeling of GE salmon and all genetically engineered foods.
The petition was written by attorneys at the Center for Food Safety and filed with the FDA in September. The FDA has 180 days to respond. More than 410,000 signatures and comments have been submitted thus far, and Just Label It is going for a record-breaking one million comments by mid-April. With an astounding 93% of Americans in favor of labeling GMOs, one million signatures for a safe food supply is within reach!
The on-going call to action ensures there are timely responses every time GE foods are up for consideration. Earlier this week, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oceans, Atmosphere, Fisheries and Coast Guard held a hearing on the environmental risks of GE fish with a focus on “risks to wild fish stocks, fisheries, and aquatic ecosystems should these fish escape into wild habitats.” Aquabounty, the company that developed the GE salmon, says it will sterilize the fish, prevent them from escaping into the wild, and even breed in a “Salmon Republic” in Panama to temper concerns about frankenfish in American waters. There is no mention of labeling the fish should they get approval.
In his majority statement to the committee, Chairman John D Rockefeller IV acknowledged that “approval of these genetically engineered animals would be precedent setting, likely ushering in a wave of aquaculture operations here and around the world for raising genetically engineered food fish.” It may take a committee and several hearings to suss out the implications of GE aquaculture, but Just Label It knows consumers have nothing if not the right to an informed choice. While Aquabounty can invest heavily in minimizing the risks, they and the FDA have yet to answer the demand for the right to know what we’re buying and eating.
image: Karen Eliot
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