Food and Water Watch, the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and other consumer and environmental groups have filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) arguing the agency approved the use of genetically engineered (GE) salmon AquaBounty for human consumption without properly investigating related environmental risks. Inst. for Fisheries Res. v. Burwell, No. 13-1574 (N.D. Cal., filed March 30, 2016).
The complaint alleges that AquaBounty received approval for two facilities only but has told its investors that it will expand in 2016; the organizations assert that FDA should have investigated the environmental effects of AquaBounty’s “necessary outgrowth” rather than limiting its analysis to the effects of two facilities. The complaint further alleges that FDA “failed to consult with the federal fish and wildlife agencies to insure that its approval for AquaBounty’s application was not likely to jeopardize endangered and threatened species or adversely modify critical habitat” and challenges whether FDA had the statutory authority to regulate GE animals as a “new animal drug” under the federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
“It’s clear that the market has rejected GE salmon despite FDA’s reck- less approval,” a spokesperson for Friends of the Earth said in a March 31, 2016, press release. “Major retailers including Costco, Safeway and Kroger won’t sell it and polls show the vast majority of people don’t want to eat it. Yet under this approval it won’t be labeled, violating our funda- mental right to know what we are feeding our families.”