GE salmon not a done deal

FDA extends public-comment period to April 26

Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski applauds the FDA’s decision to extend the comment period on GE salmon to April 26.

Alaska senator Lisa Murkowski applauds the FDA’s decision to extend the comment period on GE salmon to April 26.

Make your voice heard
I read in the Feb. 18 issue of the Food Poisoning Bulletin that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has extended by 60 days—until April 26—the public-comment period regarding the issue of government approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon. As I wrote in this column on Feb. 7, after releasing its environmental assessment on GE salmon, the FDA had previously invited public comments through Feb. 25.

“Almost 30,000 comments were submitted to the Federal Register since it was posted in December 2012,” writes Food Poisoning Bulletin writer Linda Larsen.

Larsen reminds us that “the modified fish will grow twice as quickly as naturally occurring salmon” and would be “the first transgenic animal to be approved by the government and introduced into the environment and the food chain.” Potential health risks from eating the “frankenfish” include “potential toxicity, allergenic effects, and diseases,” according to the Center for Food Safety (go to to read more about the threats to the environment and human health posed by GE fish).

U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) praised the FDA’s decision to extend the comment period in a Feb. 13 press release, referring to the agency’s original “flawed decision to move forward in the approval process despite so many unanswered questions. …

“I am proud that my Coastal Coalition in the Senate and those fighting along with us—like the Alaskans in Sitka last weekend—have raised our voices and outrage to a level where the FDA relented and is giving us more time to further lay out the case against GE salmon,” said Murkowski.

Learn to grow your own veggie starts!

AquaBounty Technologies, the company that is introducing the genetically modified fish, will have to wait longer for government approval of its product,” Larsen said. Gee, maybe if the FDA gets 30,000 more comments, the approval process will get stopped in its tracks. Let’s hope so.

Submit comments electronically to or via mail to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA–305), Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Go to for more detailed information on comment submission.

Learn how to grow your own food
Mark your calendar for Saturday, March 9, the date of the free Seed Starting workshop out at the GRUB Cooperative (1525 Dayton Road). Taught by experienced nurserywoman Sherri Scott, who heads up the GRUB Grown Nursery, the workshop will focus on learning how to “start” seeds at home.

“We’ll be covering the basics, starting with how to read a seed packet, and discuss different techniques to achieve optimum temperature, moisture and light needs,” writes Scott on the website of Cultivating Community NV, which is sponsoring the event. “We’ll talk about timing and spacing issues I’ve learned in my nursery business, as well as information I have gleaned from others. Sources for seed will be covered and each participant will plant their own mixed-variety six-pack to take home.”

The workshop runs from 2 to 4 p.m. Call Jonah at 588-0585 or go to for more information and to register for the workshop.

“Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.”

–Alfred Austin