SAN FRANCISCO – On behalf of a coalition representing the interests of consumers, environmentalists and fishermen statewide, Food & Water Watch will deliver petitions signed by more than 17,000 Californians to Senator Barbara Boxer’s (D-CA) San Francisco office on the morning of Wednesday, Nov. 17, asking her to join her West Coast colleagues in urging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to halt its approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The FDA could issue its decision as early as November 23. If approved, the product would be the first GE food animal allowed for human consumption.
“Every other Senator from the Pacific Coast – including Senator Feinstein – has voiced concern about what the approval of GE salmon would mean for human health, the environment, and the tens of thousands of men and women whose livelihoods depend on California’s commercial salmon fisheries,” said Food & Water Watch’s California Campaigns Director Adam Scow. “It’s time for Senator Boxer to take a stand against the approval of GE salmon.”
In September, the FDA held hearings to determine whether or not to approve the controversial product developed by Massachusetts biotech company AquaBounty. At least 30 House members and 13 senators expressed concern with the FDA’s review process, with many calling for the outright prohibition of GE salmon. Fourteen of California’s state legislators sent a similar message in a letter to the FDA that month.
“Senator Boxer has been a strong champion for California’s commercial fishing communities and we’re counting on her to help us combat GE salmon, which could spell disaster for our natural fisheries,” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations.
Scientists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are concerned that insufficient research has been done on the environmental risks of GE salmon, according to documents obtained by Food & Water Watch through a Freedom of Information Act request and released on Monday.
Two types of petitions will be delivered to Senator Boxer: 2,219 petitions urge Senator Boxer directly to support legislation similar to H.R. 6265, which prevents the approval of GE fish, and to ask President Obama to direct the FDA not to rush approval of the product; 15,100 petitions directed to President Obama and FDA asking them to reject the approval of AquaBounty’s Aqua Advantage Salmon.
The coalition of groups that oppose GE salmon include the San Francisco Bay Chapter Sierra Club, Credo Action, Center for Food Safety, Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations, SalmonAID Foundation, San Francisco Crab Boat Owner’s Association, Fish Sniffer magazine, South Yuba River Citizens League and FISH Restaurant in Sausalito.
The following spokespeople are available to provide background and comment about the impacts of GE salmon approval on California’s consumers, environment and economy:
Adam Scow, California campaigns director for consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch
Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director for the public interest and environmental advocacy organization The Center for Food Safety (CFS)
Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations (PCFFA)
Kenny Belov, owner of sustainable seafood restaurant FISH in Sausalito
Paul Johnson, owner of Monterey Fish Co.
More information on U.S. Fish & Wildlife’s concerns about GE salmon can be found here: http://www.foodandwaterwatch.o…
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.