After being served with a 90-day notice of intent to sue by the Center for Food Safety and other environmental groups, the US Food and Drug Association revealed that the Florida Keys is no longer in danger of being inundated by the release of Oxitec’s genetically modified mosquitoes.

Several cities in Florida were slated for a GM mosquito release, though the public had been outraged that the USFDA and Oxitec had not conducted a single environmental assessment to determine if the genetically modified insects would harm the environment and numerous endangered species.

The mosquitoes were being touted as a way to combat Zika, even after reporters like John Rappaport exposed the Zika virus hoax:

“The Zika virus hoax, now being blamed for the birth of babies with very small heads and impaired brains, has been around for a long time – late 1940s, early 1950s – and suddenly, without warning or reason, after inducing, at best, mild illness, it’s producing horrendous damage? This is called a clue. A clue that scientific liars are lying. Furthermore, many of the women who are giving birth to deformed babies are testing negative for the presence of Zika Virus.”

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 & Water Watch received the following comments from the FDA’s legal counsel regarding their fast-track approval of the GM mosquitoes:

“. . .  per the public referendums which took place on November 8, 2016, and the subsequent board meeting of the Florida Keys Mosquito Control District (FKMCD) on November 19, 2016, the proposed field trial is no longer moving forward in Key Haven. Because residents of Key Haven voted against the trial, FKMCD commissioners agreed that the trial will not be conducted there.”

Jaydee Hanson, senior policy analyst at Center for Food Safety said,

“FDA knew it was reckless to approve the release of a novel species without first assessing the potential impacts. The agency didn’t do its homework so the local community spoke up and they had the law on their side.”

Dana Perls from Friends of the Earth stated, “This is a victory that protects local communities from reckless experiments,” she continued, “The FDA should never let people and ecosystems be treated as laboratories. We need long-term and sustainable solutions to prevent mosquito breeding grounds.”

“We are glad the FDA finally recognized that it should not allow a company to release experimental GE mosquitoes into a community without their consent,” said Patty Lovera, assistant director of Food & Water Watch. “The FDA needs an entirely new approach to evaluating the potential risks form GE insects.”

If Oxitec, the company responsible for developing the GM mosquitoes, with funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, wants to release mosquitoes in Monroe Country, Florida, they will have to reapply for another permit.

Image credit: ArsTechnica