WASHINGTON — Groups of lawmakers from the U.S. House and Senate sent separate letters to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg last week, expressing serious concerns regarding the process the agency has used during its review of genetically engineered salmon.
“Critical information has been kept from the public and consequently, only FDA and [AquaBounty Technologies, which developed the genetically modified salmon] know important details about the approval process,” wrote the group of 11 senators, led by Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska.
AquaBounty's salmon has been modified with genes from Chinook salmon and the ocean pout fish, and grows at roughly twice the rate of a normal salmon. If approved, it would be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption in the U.S.
In a separate letter, 20 House members led by Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., and Mike Thompson, D-Calif., expressed similar concerns.
House member argued that the FDA's existing review processes are inappropriate for analyzing genetically modified animals, and noted that the agency has had access to very few scientific studies on the issue — all of which were supplied by AquaBounty.
Finally, the House letter argued that the FDA should, at the very least, require foods from modified animals to be labeled, noting that “the buyer cannot beware if the buyer is not informed.”