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Canadian groups concerned as U.S. approves GM salmon

November 19, 2015
Canada to produce GM fish eggs

OTTAWA—Canadian environmental and consumer groups are expressing grave concerns over the U.S. government’s approval of the world’s first genetically modified (GM) food animal, a GM Atlantic salmon that will originate as GM fish eggs produced in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada.

“This approval has grave consequences for Canadians and people across the world, and poses a serious environmental threat,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “If Health Canada also approves this fish, Canadians won’t even know how to avoid it in grocery stores because GM foods are not labeled.”

The Canadian government has already approved the GM salmon and eggs for commercial production, in a decision that was challenged in court this week. However, Health Canada has not yet approved it for human consumption.

“We were just in court two days ago challenging Canada’s approval of GM salmon production,” said Mark Butler of Ecology Action Centre. “We’re extremely concerned about the risks to the future of wild Atlantic salmon."

Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society were in federal court on Tuesday arguing that the Canadian government’s approval of GM salmon production was unlawful. The U.S. company AquaBounty has a facility in PEI, Canada where GM fish eggs would now be produced for shipment to Panama, for grow out and processing for the U.S. market.

“We don’t want PEI to be known as the home of the Frankenfish,” said Sharon Labchuk of the PEI group Islanders Say No to Frankenfish. “We cannot allow this global threat to originate from our beautiful island.”

In an Ipsos Reid poll conducted in August 2015 for CBAN, almost half of Canadians (45 percent) said they would not eat a GM salmon and 88 percent said they wanted mandatory labelling of all GM foods.

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Contact Information

Lucy Sharratt, Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, 613 809 1103
Mark Butler, Ecology Action Centre, 902 266 5401
Sharon Labchuk, Islanders Say No to Frankenfish, 902-626-732;
Karen Wristen, Living Oceans Society, 604 788 5634.

Background

The poll results are available at www.cban.ca/2015poll
Information on the Canadian court case is available at www.ecologyaction.ca/gmsalmon
Background on the GM fish is available at www.cban.ca/fish

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