The FDA has spent at least four years coming to this decision. In previous posts, I’ve discussed.
- How retailers are promising not to sell GMO salmon
- Why labeling is essential
- How it’s being produced outside this country
- What the issues are about
What more to say? Only that federal agencies are tone deaf about the GMO issue.
The FDA thinks that just because it judges the salmon safe to eat, that automatically makes it acceptable to the public.
Even if the salmon is safe to eat, the public
may not want it for other reasons
But as anyone who knows anything about risk communication can tell you, even if the salmon is safe to eat, the public may not want it for a host of other reasons.
The decision not to label the salmon is also tone deaf. The FDA bases its decision on its decision that genetic modification is not material, meaning that the GMO fish has a similar nutrient composition to wild or other farm-raised salmon.
But the FDA requires labeling of plenty of other non-material processes: made from concentrate, previously frozen, and irradiated, for example.
As far as I can tell, the FDA has learned nothing about risk communication in the 20 years since it approved GMO foods for production and consumption. The protests are already underway, some from members of Congress.
“People around this country need to know what
they are serving their families”
Politico Pro Agriculture quotes Senator Lisa Murkowski (Dem-AK):
“We have made no bones about the fact that this is wrong, not only for Alaska and our wild salmon stocks…but around the country,” she said, adding: “At a bare minimum people around this country need to know what they are serving their families when it comes to seafood.”
Murkowski said the draft labeling guidance released today fell short of what consumers need and plans to “continue the fight” against the fish.
This will be interesting to watch.
Marion Nestle is Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health and Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her degrees include a Ph.D. in molecular biology and an M.P.H. in public health nutrition, both from the University of California, Berkeley.
She is the author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health, Safe Food: Bacteria, Biotechnology, and Bioterrorism and What to Eat.
Her most recent book is Pet Food Politics: The Chihuahua in the Coal Mine, published by University of California Press in 2008.
You can read her Food Politics blog here:
Latest posts by Dr. Marion Nestle (see all)
- So what exactly IS “natural?” - January 17, 2016
- FDA approves genetically modified salmon, and it won’t be labeled - November 27, 2015
- University of Colorado returns Coca-Cola cash! - November 16, 2015