Review of GE Animals Must be Science-Based

  • Contact: Karen Batra
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 24, 2013) – In the latest edition of the Food and Drug Policy Forum, an article by Food & Water Watch asserts that FDA is not ready to regulate the world’s first biotech food animal.  Fortunately, the same edition of the Journal contains a meticulous response to these claims by preeminent animal scientists, Alison L. Van Eenennaam (Cooperative Extension Specialist at UC Davis), William M. Muir (Professor at Purdue University), and Eric M. Hallerman (Professor at Virginia Tech University). 

“The development of GE salmon is based on more than two decades of scientific research making it the most studied line of Atlantic salmon,” says Dr. Cathleen Enright, Executive Vice President for Food & Agriculture at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO). 

After years of review and in consultation with other government agencies, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published its environmental assessment in December 2012 determining the fish is safe for the environment.  

“Unfortunately, the review process has been hampered by baseless claims that have stymied regulators’ ability to make decisions that are science- rather than politically-based,” says Dr. Enright. 

“It’s unfortunate that a small network of people continue to foment fear and spread misinformation about biotechnology—in this case a technology that could help pave the way to meet the animal protein needs of a burgeoning global population in a way that will not deplete wild fish stocks or require forests to be cleared for food production,” says Dr. Enright.  

The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization reports that by 2050, an expanded world population will be consuming 150 percent more animal protein than it does today. 

 “A decision on this application is long overdue,” says Dr. Enright. “The cost has been high, economically and morally – a U.S. company has lost jobs by government inaction, investment in public and private sector research has been negatively impacted, and advances in sustainable food production have been precluded. 

**The AquAdvantage salmon is genetically engineered to reach its market weight in half the time of conventionally raised salmon thus contributing to more sustainable aquaculture systems.  It was developed by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, a Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) member.  For more information, visit the AquaBounty pressroom at

About BIO
BIO is the world's largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations across the United States and in more than 30 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of innovative healthcare, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products. BIO also produces the BIO International Convention, the world’s largest gathering of the biotechnology industry, along with industry-leading investor and partnering meetings held around the world. BIOtechNOW is BIO's blog chronicling “innovations transforming our world” and the BIO Newsletter is the organization’s bi-weekly email newsletter. Subscribe to the BIO Newsletter.