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FDA Approves GMO Salmon And Alaska Is Worried

December 2, 2015

The FDA regulates genetically engineered salmon as a veterinary drug…

Does that sound like a food product to you? Veterinary drug a.k.a. dinner for tonight? The FDA insists that the foreign genetic material injected in to the DNA of genetically modified salmon is a drug, and since drugs are under the purview of the FDA, the FDA gets to approve the veterinary drug, er, ahem, dinner, as safe for human consumption. Veterinary drugs approved by the FDA as dinner for US consumers, makes perfect sense, right? Well, as long as you work for the FDA.

According to the NY Times, the FDA reasoned that knot through the loophole like this:

The F.D.A. said that to approve the salmon, it determined that the fish was safe to eat, that the inserted genetic elements did not harm the fish itself, and that the company had adequately proved that the salmon grew faster.

Notice that nothing in this analysis determines the safety of a veterinary drug in its application to people.

Is anyone else left wondering why the FDA doesn’t just approve all veterinary medications as safe for human consumption?

So, I looked up a veterinary drug combo I use for my dogs. It’s a heartworm preventative, given monthly, and it contains dewormers. Note the drug manufacturer’s description of what should be done in case a human ingests a veterinary medication: contact a physician, NOT contact the FDA.

Keep this and all drugs out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion by humans, clients should be advised to contact a physician immediately. Physicians may contact a Poison Control Center for advice concerning cases of ingestion by humans.

Why is the FDA making advisory statements about veterinary medications being safe for human consumption? Has the veterinary medication been subjected to blind clinical trials? Nope. Notice that the human that ingests veterinary medication is instructed to contact Poison Control. Should we contact Poison Control in the case of eating the veterinary medication Genetically Altered Salmon? I wonder if they have a line for that.

Guess what else the veterinary medicine has that people don’t? It has a caveat section acknowledging that certain dog breeds may be negatively affected by the medication than others, and also that “stupor” and “paralysis” or “death” may be side effects:

Heartgard Plus has been shown to be bioequivalent to HEARTGARD, with respect to the bioavailability of ivermectin. The dose regimens of Heartgard Plus and HEARTGARD are the same with regard to ivermectin (6 mcg/kg). Studies with ivermectin indicate that certain dogs of the Collie breed are more sensitive to the effects of ivermectin administered at elevated dose levels (more than 16 times the target use level) than dogs of other breeds. At elevated doses, sensitive dogs showed adverse reactions which included mydriasis, depression, ataxia, tremors, drooling, paresis, recumbency, excitability, stupor, coma and death. HEARTGARD demonstrated no signs of toxicity at 10 times the recommended dose (60 mcg/kg) in sensitive Collies. Results of these trials and bioequivalency studies, support the safety of HEARTGARD products in dogs, including Collies, when used as recommended.

Hmm, so in genetically engineered salmon, do we have a safety level or toxic threshold for some people before they suffer veterinary drug-type side effects from the veterinary drug the FDA approved for human consumption? Is one salmon too much? Two? Ounces? How much of this genetically altered veterinary medication is safe for people to consume? What? You don’t say…FDA never demonstrated safety in humans. Guess that’s up to we experiment subjects to evaluate.



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