Washington, D.C. — In response to misleading information found in AquaBounty Technologies’ newest regulatory filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC), including that the company’s GMO salmon product will not require a label, Food & Water Watch called on the SEC today to make corrections to protect investors. Food & Water Watch also called on the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to take action, as this represents the second time this year that AquaBounty has misleadingly asserted that GMO salmon will not require a label, if and when FDA gives regulatory approval. In reality, FDA has not made a labeling decision.
“AquaBounty’s pattern of willful distortion shows how desperate the company is to promote it’s totally unnecessary product, which consumers have said they won’t eat, grocery stores have said they won’t sell, the salmon industry has said they won’t grow, and scientists have said is too risky,” said Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director of Food & Water Watch.
AquaBounty’s initial regulatory submission to SEC in April, which was part of the company’s bid to join NASDAQ, has been followed by a succession of amended registrations forms. The amended forms seem to be an attempt by the company to respond to complaints from Food & Water Watch about misrepresentations and omissions. The omissions included the company’s failure to acknowledge its serious battle with diseased GMO salmon in its production facility and that many of the nation’s leading grocers have pledged to not sell GMO salmon in response to widespread consumer opposition. AquaBounty’s amended forms attempted to correct these problems, but also introduced new false statements, including some on labeling.
“While we are happy that SEC appears to be taking these issues seriously, and we hope the SEC will continue to compel AquaBounty to make corrections, we remain troubled with the many weaknesses found in FDA’s ongoing regulatory review of GMO salmon,” Hauter said. “As journalists and public-interest groups have turned up a mountain of evidence contradicting FDA’s regulatory review—from news of “lost” fish in Panama to reports that GMO salmon can’t actually grow faster than normal salmon—FDA has sat on its hands.”
The company’s misleading suggestion that GMO salmon will not require a label follows a similarly deceptive comment to the media made by AquaBounty’s vice-president earlier this year, which prompted the FDA to reach out to the company to correct the record. The FDA has long noted that it will not issue a labeling decision on GMO salmon until it issues its final regulatory decision. To date, FDA has made no final determinations or decisions on any aspect of GMO salmon. If approved, GMO salmon would be the first biotech food animal ever to enter the food supply.
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