While FDA Mulls Genetically Modified Salmon, Supermarkets Back Away

The head of the Federal Drug Administration told a U.S. Senate committee today her agency is still working on its review of an application to produce a genetically modified salmon.

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Director Margaret Hamburg gave no indication when the FDA would issue a decision.

Actually we got … 33 or 35, 000 comments, so this is topic that people care a lot about. We’re going through those comments, taking them very seriously. And we will be moving forward in a science-driven way.

AquaBounty Technologies says its fish would be farmed inland and would be incapable of breeding. Opponents, though, say the fish would threaten natural salmon runs and cause confusion in the marketplace. Ahead of the FDA decision, Friends of the Earth is pressing supermarket chains to agree not to carry the product. Last week, it added Safeway and Kroger to its yellow-light list of retailers, those that say they have no plans to carry genetically modified salmon. Target and Trader Joe’s made the environmental group’s green-light list with policy pledges not to carry the product.

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Liz Ruskin covers Alaska’s congressional delegation, federal agency decisions that shape life in the 49th state, money in politics and elections. She has deep roots in Alaska and this is her third stint in Washington, a city she has grown to love.

She was born in Anchorage and is a West High graduate. She studied political science at the University of Washington and has an M.A. in journalism from the University of Missouri in Columbia. During graduate school, she moved to Washington to intern as a D.C. correspondent. But for her first real journalism job, she moved back to Alaska to work at the Homer News. She was there for three years before taking a job at the Anchorage Daily News. Over the course of nine years in Anchorage, she covered City Hall, courts, state politics, and Native and rural affairs.

Then, in April 2001, she moved back to Washington to work in McClatchy Newspaper’s D.C. bureau as a correspondent for the Anchorage paper. She stayed in the position for five years.

She took a year off for a journalism fellowship at the University of Colorado in Boulder, then freelanced for several years from the U.K. and Japan, in print and radio.

When a vacancy occurred in APRN’s one-person Washington bureau, she jumped at the opportunity. Liz has been APRN’s Washington, D.C. correspondent since October 2013.

lruskin (at) alaskapublic (dot) org  | About Liz