In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration began paving the way for approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. The first transgenic animal approved for human consumption, GE salmon would open the floodgates for GE cows and pigs, which biotech companies are waiting in the wings to finally commercialize after years of research and development.
Not to be outdone by the FDA, this year the U.S. Department of Agriculture has already approved three GE products. First the department announced it would allow unrestricted growing of GE alfalfa, which could destroy the organic dairy industry and block farmers from the export market since many countries won’t accept GE-contaminated crops. The USDA has also “partially deregulated” GE sugar beets and approved a new type of GE corn that is designed to be facilitate ethanol production.
If it seems like the of GE food approvals has accelerated, take a look at the chronology of GE food approvals below – and how many have come after the Obama Administration came into office.
1992 – Calgene’s GE Flavr SavrTM tomatoes become first GE food on the market after approval by FDA.
1994 – Calgene’s GE canola approved by USDA.
1994 – Monsanto’s first Roundup Ready soybean approved by USDA.
1995 – Monsanto’s NewLeafTM potato, the first pest protected plant, approved by the EPA and FDA in 1995.
1996 – Monsanto’s first GE insect-resistant corn variety approved by USDA.
1997 – Calgene’s GE insect resistant Bt cotton approved by USDA.
1999 – GE papaya strains developed by Cornell University and the University of Hawaii approved by EPA.
2005 – Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa approved by USDA. This approval was challenged in court and planting of GE alfalfa was prohibited.
2005 – Monsanto’s Roundup Ready sugar beets approved by USDA. This approval is challenged in court and planting of GE sugar beets was prohibited, although USDA allowed some of the crop to be planted.
2009 – Start of Obama Administration
2009 – Food and Drug Administration approved ATryn, an anticlotting agent that is produced in the milk of transgenic goats. This was the first U.S. approval of a GE animal.
2009 – GE papaya strain developed by University of Florida approved by USDA.
2010 – USDA approves Syngenta’s “stacked” corn variety (MIR162) that contains multiple GE traits, including resistance to a variety of corn pests.
2010 – Pioneer’s GE soybean, modified to produce increased amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (oleic) and decreased amounts of polyunsaturated fatty acids (linoleic and linolenic) approved by USDA.
2011 – Monsanto’s Roundup Ready alfalfa is approved by USDA, with no planting restrictions.
2011 – USDA allows planting of Roundup Ready sugar beets despite unresolved legal challenges to the department’s approval of the crop.
2011 – Syngenta’s corn variety, genetically engineered to produce an enzyme that facilitates ethanol production, approved by USDA.
2011- Monsanto announces its intention to bring its stacked Roundup ready and insect-resistant sweet corn to market in 2012.
2011- Syngenta’s insect-resistant Bt cotton is approved by USDA.
2011- Monsanto’s insect-resistant Bt soybean, the first of its kind, is approved by USDA.
2011- USDA approves Bayer CropScience’s stacked herbicide-tolerant and insect-resistant cotton.
Genetically Engineered Salmon
The biotechnology industry has genetically engineered a fish that grows at twice the normal rate, so it can get to market sooner and make more money, faster.
The FDA doesn’t even do its own testing of genetically engineered animals: it relies on information provided by the company that wants approval. And because GE salmon are being considered as a new animal drug, the process isn’t focused on what happens to people who eat genetically engineered animals. So on top of the health concerns posed by raising salmon in crowded factory fish farms that rely on antibiotics and other chemicals, the FDA could be adding the unknown risks of GE salmon to the mix. (http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/food/genetically-engineered-foods/)