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NGOs blast FDA for refusing to provide documents on GM salmon approval

FDA filed motion refusing to hand over court-ordered documents on genetically engineered fish research.

A group of environmental, consumer, and commercial and recreational fishing organizations filed an objection last Thursday against the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s attempt to not hand over court-ordered documents in a lawsuit involving involving AquaBounty's genetically engineered (GE) salmon.

The plaintiffs allege the FDA approved AquaBounty's application to produce genetically modified salmon for human consumption without considering or fully disclosing the environmental and other risks. Their lawsuit was initially filed last year.

In January the judge ordered the FDA produce documents related to its approval of AquaBounty's application by July 11.

However, on April 14, the FDA filed a motion to stay requesting to not hand over the documents because "compliance with this court’s order will divert resources from FDA’s public health priorities."

The FDA said it would cost more than $2 million (€1.8 million) to review a small portion of the documents, which is "a significant amount of taxpayer money that need not be spent at all if federal defendants prevail."

Last Thursday, plaintiffs filed an objection requesting the court deny the FDA's motion to stay because with or without the lawsuit, the FDA would have "substantially the same production and review burden under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)," since several plaintiffs lodged FOIA requests since 2010 seeking more information on the approval process.

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