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Maine Group Joins Lawsuit Against FDA Over Genetically Engineered Salmon

A Maine conservation organization, Friends of Merrymeeting Bay, is joining a coalition of plaintiffs in suing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over its approval of a genetically engineered salmon.

The salmon, developed by Massachusetts based AquaBounty, is an Atlantic salmon that features genetic alterations from Arctic eelpout and Pacific king salmon.

According AquaBounty, the salmon is disease resistant and can grow quickly and efficiently, thereby limiting the resource drain seen in other types of animal farming, such as beef.

But the plaintiffs say the FDA has no framework in place to adequately deal with or approve genetically engineered animals.

“FDA just has not been judicious about talking to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, they’ve not been careful about doing an environmental impact study, they really aren’t very clear about how this going to impact us after they do this experiment,” says Kathleen McGee with Friends of Merrymeeting Bay

The initial project involves AquaBounty producing the fish eggs in Prince Edward Island, then growing the fish in South America for consumption in the U.S.

McGee says after that, there’s no reason the fish couldn’t be produced here, which she says could impact native fish runs. And she says, with no GMO labeling requirements, the fish would simply be sold as “Atlantic salmon.”

The plaintiff coalition includes a number of fishing interests, conservation organizations and consumer protection groups.

Copyright 2016 Maine Public

Jennifer Mitchell studied Music, English and Anthropology at Oberlin College and Conservatory in Ohio. She has worked as News Director for Peninsula Public Radio in Homer, Alaska, and served as news producer in Bangor for Maine Public Radio in 2004. Most recently, she spent four years working in South Africa as a producer, as well as classical music presenter in Cape Town.

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