A coalition of environmental groups has filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the agency’s approval of AquAdvantage salmon, a genetically engineered salmon from a company called AquaBounty, for public consumption.
A modified Atlantic salmon, the AquAdvantage salmon can grow to market size in half the time as a non-engineered, farmed salmon. AquBounty’s approval process by the FDA has taken twenty years.
The lawsuit, signed by groups like the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, and Friends of the Earth, seeks to stop the FDA from taking any further action on the salmon or other genetically engineered animal before the agency is granted additional approval from Congress.
The FDA’s decision in November to approve the fish for human consumption was a historic one, but immediately drew criticism from consumer rights groups and environmental activists, particularly because the FDA will not require companies to label the salmon as genetically modified.
Individual companies may choose to label the salmon, however, and a growing trend of voluntary GMO labeling, spurred by a Vermont GMO law that will go into effect in the next few weeks, may influence their decision to do so.
A number of major American retailers have previously pledged not to stock the salmon when it becomes available for sale, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Kroger.