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Biotech salmon faces scrutiny at FDA panel

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Postby sandra » Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:30 am

ROCKVILLE, Maryland, Sep. 20, 2010 (Reuters) — The first genetically modified animal could move one step closer to U.S. dinner tables on Monday, when a federal advisory panel recommends whether such food -- a salmon -- is safe to eat.


Salmon are displayed for sale in Washington on August 15, 2008. REUTERS/Molly Rile

Administration staff and the salmon's maker, Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc, have said the fast-growing fish appears to be the same as normal Atlantic salmon and poses little threat to the environment or diners.

But some consumer advocates, environmentalists and others have protested the move. They say there is not enough data to show that eating the genetically modified salmon does not cause side effects such as allergic reactions or that accidental escape will not harm other fish.

If approved, Aqua Bounty's salmon would be the first genetically altered animal for human consumption in the United States. The FDA has already allowed modified animals as pets or to help produce biologic medicines. Genetically engineered vegetables such as corn have been on the market for years.

Overcoming advocates' complaints and winning the panel's support is critical for Aqua Bounty, whose shares have more than tripled this year ahead the FDA's potential green light.

The company has no other approved products and is eyeing the genetic technology for use in other fish like tilapia and trout.

Aqua Bounty Chief Executive Officer Ronald Stotish told the FDA's panel of outside experts that approval could help provide the "healthy kind of diet that Americans are used to" amid threats from overfishing and increased demand. Without it, "it's hard to imagine how we'll meet the protein needs of the developing population over the next 20 to 30 years."

The small Massachusetts-based biotechnology company said it had first sought U.S. approval of the salmon in 1995. It reported a $4.8 million net loss for last year after restructuring in 2008 to preserve cash and focus on approval.

Its shares were unchanged on the London Stock Exchange ahead of the panel's recommendation.

Later on Monday, panelists will advise the FDA if there is "reasonable certainty" that the salmon is safe to eat or if there is a potential environmental threat. The agency will weigh the recommendations before making its final decision.

INCREASED RISK?

Critics, including groups like Consumers Union, the Center for Food Safety and Food & Water Watch, say Aqua Bounty has not done sufficient studies to prove its fish is safe. They also criticize the FDA for allowing just 14 days for the public to review the data even though the company submitted its bid more than a decade ago.

Last week, various groups protested in front of the White House, urging President Barack Obama to postpone the public meeting or block the potential approval.

Consumers Union "is particularly concerned that this salmon may pose an increased risk of severe, even life-threatening allergic reactions to sensitive individuals," it said in a statement. It added that fish are already a major allergen and that "this salmon could make the problem worse."

Aqua Bounty's salmon has a gene to make it grow twice as fast as natural Atlantic salmon. The company has said it is the same in every way to wild salmon and that taste tests showed no difference.

Stotish said Aqua Bounty plans to sell the eggs to inland fish farmers. The product could eventually boost the United States' meager domestic salmon farms, he said, even though the company's first application seeks approval to grow the fish at facilities in Canada and Panama.

The United States imports more than $1 billion of Atlantic salmon a year after industrialization knocked out most wild populations in its Northeast region.

Steven Vaughn, director of the Office of New Animal Drug Evaluation at the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said it took the agency so long to bring Aqua Bounty's bid before the public because it had to grapple with how to handle the complex science.

"This has been very challenging for us as a new technology," he said.

But other genetically altered food animals, including pigs and cows, are in the works. One other engineered fish, Yorktown Technologies LP's GloFish, is already sold in the United States as a pet.

One concern is whether consumers will know when they are buying genetically modified salmon, if it is approved.

Current FDA rules only call for special labels for altered food when there is a "material difference" in the product's end result. Aqua Bounty and FDA staff both say tests show the salmon's composition appears similar to normal fish.

Special package labeling to note AquaAdvantage salmon is altered "just causes confusion for the consumers," said David Edwards, head of animal biotechnology for the Biotechnology Industry Organization, of which Aqua Bounty is a member.

The FDA's panelists will offer their advice later on Monday although there will not be a formal vote. On Tuesday, the agency will take comments on public labeling issues.
http://www.newsdaily.com/stories/tre68j ... ch-salmon/
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Postby Nesaie » Wed Sep 22, 2010 1:47 pm

From the corporate website:

AquaBounty is developing advanced-hybrid salmon, trout, and tilapia designed to grow faster than traditional fish. AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS) reach market size twice as fast as traditional salmon. This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit to farmers (reduced growing cycle) as well as enhancing the economic viability of inland operations, thereby diminishing the need for ocean pens. AAS are also reproductively sterile, which eliminates the threat of interbreeding amongst themselves or with native populations, a major recent concern in dealing with fish escaping from salmon farms.


http://www.aquabounty.com/products/products-295.aspx

Wait what? They can't reproduce? Why would any fish farmer buy these fish if they're sterile?

It sounds like they're making the claim that these fish will be safe if they're not in pens. I highly doubt it. The real threat if they're allowed to roam in the wild is against existing wild salmon. They'll be an invasive species and take over the existing fishes habitat. It's like what happened here when invasive blackberries were introduced. Our native blackberries have to compete for the same resources and have been overrun with foreign species. Same with the gray squirrel vs. the red squirrel.

I only buy wild caught fish. Farm fish, just like with cows, aren't fed a healthy natural diet. That gives them diseases. Some are even fed gmo corn products. But, if these fish are let into the wild, how would we be able to tell the difference? I don't like this one bit.
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Postby sandra » Thu Sep 23, 2010 8:56 am

"The small Massachusetts-based biotechnology company first sought U.S. approval of the salmon in 1995 and reported a $4.8 million net loss for last year after restructuring in 2008 to preserve cash and focus on approval.

Last week, various groups protested in front of the White House, urging President Barack Obama to postpone the public meeting or block the potential approval.

Current FDA rules only call for special labels for altered food when there is a "material difference" in the product's end result. Aqua Bounty and FDA staff both say tests show the salmon's composition appears similar to normal fish.

The company and the industry trade group that represents it, the Biotechnology Industry Organization, do not want products with the fish to point out its genetic differences."

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6 ... geNumber=1


(I don't like it either Nesaie, and their efforts are a little disturbing)
There are all kinds of organizations rallying against the approval,
hope they prevail. Although this is a direction that people will
continue to move in, these advancements in genetics, whether
food or what not.


The fact that these Fish are reproductive sterile, very abnormal.
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Postby Nesaie » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:54 pm

Interesting Sandra.

I looked up the original corp that this corp came out of. I forget their name, but you can find it if you go to the link I provided. They kill sea animals for "antifreeze". Not like the antifreeze that goes in your car, but the biology that allows fish to live under ice and not freeze to death. From what I've read, correct me if I'm wrong, this new corp is using this "antifreeze" in their bio-salmon. They're going to start them in Eastern Canada, send them to Panama to be raised, then sell them. My question...Who needs to protect themselves from ice in Panama????

Panama??? Really???

I'm thinking this corp just needs a market for something they found and can't sell it to anyone outside.

C'mon, how can anyone improve on Mother Nature?
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Postby greeney2 » Sat Sep 25, 2010 7:37 pm

I did find the part about growth hormones coupled with antifreeze protien promoter, but could not find any info what that does. Sounds like they feed the fish your cars antifreeze but I;m sure it has nothing to do with the green liquid you put in the radiator.

It does however sound pretty questionable, as I've herd some things about genetically engineered corn, being OK to feed to cattle but not humans. Thats a big red flag for sure, when an ear of corn is not OK for us to eat, so they feed it to what we eat for dinner. Reminds me of 2 things. Many years ago was the stuff they were feeding to Chickens to fatten them up, resulting in deformed chickens, several legs etc. Next thing it reminded me of coming from Buffalo, New York was the deformed and cancerous growths on fish in Lake Erie as the coast line was lined with steel mills dumping plus other chemical plants. Another real bad problem in Buffalo was after we moved out when I was a kid, was the development I can't recall the exact name, I think it was "Love Canal", hi cancer rates from chemical plants, and also fish not fit to consume, having visible tumors, etc.

This genetic engineering stuff is pretty scary when you think of it. How many of our natural species have gone extinct, and if we introduce these things they may distroy what is left in the wild. In the next 100 years we could become a planet who's wildlife has become genentically altered, and as if new species of engineered clones could evolve. Our ecosystem could meet its end, with this and other chemical polutions. We already know the affects of pesticides on things like eggshells, our bee colonies are 50-60 % gone, and pollination is affected. This earth is crumbling in so many ways due to overpopulation. Our wildlife and natural resourses are dwindling, our economy and food supplies are not keeping people working and eating in this world. Whats next altering cows to be 3000 pounds, we already have the beefalo, breeding with Buffalo to produce meat. Fish supplies have been reduced worldwide, so we have developed many fish farms.
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Postby Nesaie » Sun Sep 26, 2010 9:41 am

Ever notice how hard these GMO corps work to not allow the public to know that the food is genetically engineered? If the people found out, we'd vote with our dollars. Just like there is that big push now for local produce/meat from local farmers markets.
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Postby sandra » Wed Sep 29, 2010 6:59 pm

Interesting you bring up the GMO corn greeney. Was just reading a new article..
And Nesaie I know you mentioned the fact that these salmon will not be fertile fish.
Problem is, there are always errors. Scientists around the world are still very unsure of what kind of impact the biotech salmon could have if leaked into the normal populations.

"But critics warn that the precautions offered by A/F Protein to keep their salmon infertile and away from wild fish are not foolproof--and point to the recent discovery of unapproved biotech corn in taco shells as an indication of how easily things can go wrong. Even the escape of a handful of fertile biotech salmon, they say, could have enormous negative consequences."

http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Frankenfish ... Dinner.htm

I think one of the reasons is because if these genetically engineered fish escape and are possibly fertile, they could start mating with the normal population, but the fish would just die off, etc.
Salmon populations are already low.


But Nesaie- yeah that very point is startling, how under the radar these people want their genetically engineered foods to be. And this article above claims that biotech has been real public in discussions and informations, well if they have nothing to worry about- the FDA should darn well make the labels. That is very deceptive to consumers should they not. And before you know it, like greeney mentioned about the chickens, we start growing extra limbs etc....well maybe it would atleast allow for some miraculous regeneration. :lol: :?
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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Postby sandra » Sat Oct 02, 2010 11:57 am

"Breaking News: Public Outcry Is Working to Stop GMOs

“The fight against genetic modification (GM) seems like a never-ending, uphill battle. But Lord Melchett, former director of Greenpeace and current policy director at the Soil Association, says that, despite what the biotechnology giants would have you believe, most nations of the world are rejecting GMs and thus preventing their takeover of the planet.

“‘[M]any people in Europe may be unaware of the extent of the resistance to GM in places like India and China, because they swallow the GM industry line that it is supported all across the world,’ he was cited as saying in The Independent. ‘I have to say that where we are now with GM leaves me feeling very optimistic.’

“A quick visit to the website of GM-giant Monsanto, for instance, indicates that what Melchett says is true. Fancy, deceptive marketing and design tactics would have you believe that the world is lovingly embracing the alleged wonders of GM crops, but this is hardly the case. In fact, the only reason GMs even have any foothold at all is because, in some countries, they have been deceitfully approved beneath the radar of the general public.”
“Living backwards!” Alice repeated in great
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“—but there’s one great advantage in it, that one’s
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— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass
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Postby Nesaie » Mon Oct 04, 2010 10:16 am

Monsanto is evil. They also own Pfizer, so after they poison us they have the drugs to "cure" us. :(

Monsanto is the same corp that gave us agent orange during Vietnam. :(

Who in the world would trust a corp like that? They're in the murder business, not the health business.

Pfizer bought Searle, which used to employ Rummy, and created aspartame which is ecoli poop. Read the label of any gum, candybar, etc.

Many Indian farmers have killed themselves after monsanto sold them seeds. They realized they couldn't make a living anymore. Now, the bees in India are dying, thanks to monsanto. They're sooooooooooo EVIL! Oh, and now ex-employees work at the fda and one is the "food tsar". When did we get tsars? Aren't they commies?
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