Salmon On Drugs

Just say no to farmed salmon on drugs!

Numerous drugs and chemicals routinely used in net-cage salmon farm operations around the world have not been approved for use in the U.S. Even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been alerted to the situation, it has failed to take any action to protect American consumers.

You can send an email or write a letter to let the FDA know how you feel about unapproved drugs in farmed salmon. A contact and template with more information that you can customize are below.

Margaret Hamburg, M.D.
Commissioner, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
5600 Fishers Lane, Room 15-47
Rockville, MD 20857

Dear Deputy Commissioner Hamburg:

I am writing to strongly urge you to ensure that all companies exporting farmed salmon to the U.S. adhere to the Food and Drug Administration’s Approved Drugs in Aquaculture list.

It has come to my attention that drugs and chemicals, such as emamectin benzoate, that have not been approved for use in aquaculture by the FDA are routinely being used by the salmon farming industry worldwide.

This drug is used to treat farmed salmon for sea lice infections in Chile, Norway, Canada, Scotland and Maine. According to government information, on average, the unapproved drug emamectin benzoate is being used at least once during the production of every farmed salmon from British Columbia!

Scientists have expressed serious reservations about the safety and long-term effectiveness of this drug. It is already known that emamectin benzoate can accumulate in sediments and is a known toxin to fish, birds, mammals and aquatic invertebrates. Its regular use in the farmed salmon industry raises questions about other environmental and health impacts.

The FDA itself explained to three Chilean companies that, “if the drug is not listed in the approved drugs list…they [Chilean companies] are not allowed to use the drug to treat salmon destined to be distributed in the U.S., not even if they meet withdrawal periods and no tissue residue can be detected.”

I understand your agency is responsible for ensuring that all companies exporting salmon to the U.S. adhere to the Approved Drugs in Aquaculture list. I am extremely concerned that the FDA has been made aware of the use of unapproved drugs, but have yet to take any action. Please inform me of your plans to address this serious matter.