While the British company Oxitec has been dogged in its pursuit of selling genetically engineered mosquitoes to the public, many wonder just what the effects will be on the health of residents and the environment.
The mosquitoes have been pushed as a “solution” to the alleged Zika virus issue in South Florida, but many residents are skeptical, including the first target community of Key Haven where a non-binding measure on GMO mosquitoes was defeated.
Despite that defeat, another non-binding vote was also held in a wider area that was inundated with pro-GMO mosquito ads, during which a resolution passed. But many wonder whether the entire thing was simply an exercise in “manufacturing consent (more details here)” for the profitable GMO experiment to continue.
And that may be happening in another Florida town after a recent vote that has the release of millions of GMO mosquitoes one step closer to becoming a reality.
Environmental, Food Groups to Sue FDA
The vote in question ended up 3-2 in favor of releasing the mosquitoes by the Florida Keys Mosquito Control district, as they hope to test the new mosquitoes out in the open.
But according to the Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth, and other groups who just announced they plan to sue the FDA (details here), proper safety assessments still haven’t been done. And voters in Monroe County, where the pro-mosquito vote passed, likely still have no idea about this lack of safety testing, after Oxitec spent tens of thousands of dollars to convince them everything is fine.
From the press release:
A coalition of public interest groups filed a formal pre-litigation notice with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that they intend to sue the agency for its approval to release millions of genetically engineered (GE) mosquitoes into the environment. The groups, including Center for Food Safety (CFS), Friends of the Earth (FOE), Foundation Earth, the International Center for Technology Assessment (ICTA), the Florida Keys Environmental Coalition, and Food and Water Watch, have issued a 60-day notice of intent to sue FDA for failing to take into account impacts on endangered species in a fast-tracked approval of a release of GE mosquitoes in the Florida Keys.
The press release also goes on to note that the possible release would be the first of its kind in the United States. But adequate safety testing still has not been done, as always seems to be the case with GMOs.
“FDA cannot just arbitrarily approve releasing an entirely novel genetically engineered organism into the environment without accounting for risks. The Florida Keys are home to some of the most diverse and threatened species in our country, and we will not stand by and allow the government to break the law by approving this unprecedented experiment without analyzing its impacts,” said George Kimbrell, Senior Attorney for the Center for Food Safety.
For more on this developing story, you can check out the full press release from the Center for Food Safety by clicking on this link. You can also sign a petition by clicking here; it was already nearing 200,000 signatures at the time this article was written.
Photo via NPR.