(Article changed on January 6, 2013 at 11:44)
The fast growing AquAdvantage salmon is moving through the
FDA approval process. But questions remain about the fish, created by
AquaBounty Technologies, including its allergic potential.
When FDA food scientists Kathleen Jones and Kevin Greenlees presented AquaBounty's AquAdvantage salmon allergy studies at 2010 hearings, members on the committee considering the approval were appalled at the "science."
How can safety be determined for levels of allergens when a number that would "unsafe" has not been determined asked members of the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee. It's as if "you selected a particular allergen in goat meat and another allergen that was in sheep meat and you compared the two and you found a signiﬁcant difference but both of them were at irrelevantly low numbers," said Louisiana State University's David F. Senior, who chaired the committee. "Who cares?" Other members berated the low numbers of ﬁsh used in studies, the inclusion of irrelevant ﬁsh in studies which "diluted out the power of the study," and the generally bad science.
And not only were the studies low powered, some having only six or seven fish in them, there were errors in studies! James D. McKean, with the Department of Veterinary Diagnostic and Production Animal Medicine at Iowa State University, noted there were six "controls" in Table 15 and "in Table 16, there are 7. And I am still unclear as to where that extra sample came from?"
"Nothing reliable can be gained from this study," said Craig Altier, DVM, from the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University about other data presented, calling the work a "real mess." This "is an important thing to study and the experiment was a bust, why hasn't it been done again?"
And there were more questions about the AquAdvantage salmon's allergic potential. The brieﬁng packet actually says the FDA could not determine if the AquAdvantage salmon would cause more allergies than other ﬁsh because excessive culling of "abnormal" salmon and other "technical ﬂaws" in AquaBounty's study so "skewed" data as to "limit its interpretation that we cannot rely on its results"! Why are there so many abnormal fish? Why is approval considered in the midst of such technical flaws?