Why Is the Government Funneling Money to a Company Trying to Feed us Frankenfish?

Writing for AlterNet last year, Jill Richardson reported on the "The Creepy Science Behind Genetically Engineered 'Frankenfish' About to Enter Our Food Supply Unlabeled." She wrote: 

When the FDA announced it found the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon safe just before Labor Day, news headlines and even Alaska Senator Mark Begich called it a "frankenfish." A closer look at AquAdvantage makes it seem unlikely that Mary Shelley could have ever dreamed up anything as wild as the fast growing GE salmon. Even more worrisome is the science used to justify the salmon's safety, which Consumers Union senior scientist Michael Hansen calls "sloppy," "misleading," and "woefully inadequate."

If approved, AquaAdvantage will be the first genetically engineered animal to directly enter the U.S. food supply -- a fact that raises the stakes of the FDA's approval process, as it sets a precedent for all future GE animals.

But so far, this GE fish has remained off the market. As Clare Leschin-Hoar wrote recently for Grist, the approval process has run into a few roadblocks from legislators in both California and Alaska, as well as in the U.S. House. But shockingly, while the FDA has not yet issued approval for AquaBounty's science experiment to hit our dinner plates, the USDA has been helping the company out.

Leschin-Hoar writes that the agency gave AquaBounty $494,000 "to study technologies that would render the genetically tweaked fish sterile." And that's not all. Food and Water Watch reports that the company has actually been awarded more that $2.4 million in research money from the federal government since 2003.

"The U.S. government is giving taxpayer money to fund a project in Canada while our economy is faltering," said Food and Water Watch's Wenonah Hauter. "Why is our government bailing out AquaBounty at a time when we're radically cutting our federal budget? This is research the company should do to prove their product is safe -- the American people shouldn't be paying for it."


AlterNet / By Tara Lohan

Posted at October 3, 2011, 9:11am

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