NDP MPs urge the Conservative government to evaluate genetically modified salmon eggs

Hon. Rona Ambrose                                                   Hon. Gail Shea

Minister of Health                                                       Minister of Fisheries & Oceans

163 East Block                                                            556 Confederation Building

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6                                                           Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

 

Hon. Leona Aglukkaq                                                            Hon. Garry Ritz

Minister of the Environment                                       Minister of Agriculture & Agri-Food

458 Confederation Building                                       781 Confederation Building

Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6                                                           Ottawa, ON K1A 0A6

 

January 27, 2014

 

Dear Ministers,

We are writing to you today to share concerns expressed to us by citizens across Canada regarding the recent Environment Canada approval for the company AquaBounty, based out of Prince Edward Island, to produce commercially viable genetically modified salmon eggs.

Canadians have raised a number of concerns related to the production of genetically modified salmon including the impact of genetic modification on human health, the lack of mandatory labeling requirements for genetically modified (GM) foods, environmental concerns of the possible introduction of GM salmon into the environment, and the lack of public consultations.

AquAdvantage Salmon will potentially be the first GM animal approved for human consumption in the world, yet there is a troubling lack of public information about the potential impacts that genetic modification can have on human health.

Canadians clearly want to know which foods are genetically modified or contain genetically modified components. They should have easy access to the tools necessary to make informed decisions about their health and the food that they purchase for themselves and their families. In fact, Canada is one of only two of forty industrialized countries that does not have mandatory food labeling requirements for genetically modified products.

Current regulations related to GM foods have failed to keep up with the growth of the industry and have allowed the introduction of new and complex genetic modifications without proper environmental, human health, or market assessments. Therefore New Democrats are calling for a review of current regulations and increased studies of the potential impacts genetic modifications can have on the environment, human health and associated industries.   

There is also concern that GM salmon may impact wild fish stocks if released into the environment. AquaBounty’s assertion that a risk assessment is not required because the salmon will be grown in closed containment facilities is not good enough.  There is always the potential for fish to be accidentally introduced into the environment with potentially dire consequences for native and wild species of fish.  

We do not underestimate the importance that this type of agricultural technology can have on the impact of food security issues around the world.  We simply want to ensure that there are no adverse impacts from genetic modification on human health and our environment.

We look forward to your prompt response.

Sincerely,

                   

Robert Chisholm, MP                                Megan Leslie, MP                              

Dartmouth – Cole Harbour                        Halifax                                   

NDP Critic for Fisheries & Oceans             NDP Critic for the Environment

 

Libby Davies, MP                                      Murray Rankin

Vancouver East                                        Victoria

NDP Critic for Health                                NDP Critic for Pensions & National Revenue                             

This Open Letter to Ministers & Public Officials was posted on January 27, 2014
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