July 21, 2018

Problems with AquaBounty GE Salmon Facility in Panama

Food & Water Watch is reporting on problems with AquaBounty’s experimental production facility of genetically engineered (GE) salmon in Panama. AquaBounty is the company that wants FDA approval of its salmon that grows faster than normal. ┬áThe company is missing legally required permits and inspections, most critically a missing permit for wastewater. In addition, the company has reported “lost” GE salmon after severe weather in Panama. The area around the AquaBounty facility experiences routine flooding and bad weather.

SalmonConsumer and food safety advocates are concerned that these fish can escape the farms and enter the wild, where they will breed with wild salmon and change their DNA. Food & Water Watch, along with the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and GeneWatch UK have sent a letter to Panamanian authorities expressing concern over the problems at the AquaBounty facility.

George Kimbrell, senior attorney for the Center for Food Safety said, “these allegations suggest a dangerous pattern on non-compliance and mismanagement by AquaBounty, raising the likelihood of an environmentally damaging escape of these fish. This news further undermines the empty assurances that AquaBounty and the FDA have given the public and suggests that Panama’s environmental laws may also have been broken.”

The FDA may approve commercial sales of AquaBounty’s GE salmon soon. The approval is based on an plan where the company produces GE salmon eggs in Prince Edward Island, Canada, then ship them to a facility in Panama to be grown.

Wenonah Hauter, Food & Water Watch executive director said, “FDA’s ineffective and inappropriate regulatory regime has reached its logical conclusion, as it appears AquaBounty is essentially self-regulating in Panama. If and when FDA finally approves GE salmon and new production facilities open up around the world, we expect this scenario to play out again and again.”

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