The Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch and Friends of the Earth (FOE) have authored a May 28, 2015, letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), claiming that a draft risk assessment conducted by the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) questions the health and welfare of AquaBounty Technologies Inc.’s genetically modified (GM) salmon.

According to FOE, the “never-before-seen” environmental review concludes that AquaBounty’s GM salmon are not only “more susceptible to Aeromonas salmonicida, a type of disease-causing bacteria,” but exhibit “diminished growth rates” and “widely varied performance.” The assessment also reportedly registers “uncertainty” about the function of the gene construct, in addition to faulting the management and operation of AquaBounty facilities for allegedly failing to supply “internal compliance documentation, such as a daily check-list to ensure that all relevant mechanical barriers are in place and functioning properly.” As a result of these findings, the environment groups call on FDA to reject AquaBounty’s New Animal Drug Application (NADA).

“The findings from the Canadian risk assessment show that FDA has based its assessment of this totally unnecessary technology on blind trust,” said Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter in a May 28 press release. “It’s clear that there are unique safety issues that FDA has failed to consider, which is why we are calling on the agency to terminate its review of GMO salmon.” See Food & Water Watch Press Release, May 28, 2015.