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ISA virus: conflicting results a public risk

Tuesday, June 11th 2013 4:10:52pm

Media Release

(BC, June 11, 2013) Today, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the same organization that allowed fecal splatter on beef going for human consumption (XL Foods scandal1), announced that they can't find the ISA virus in 4,175 salmon tested in British Columbia.

ISA is an Atlantic virus in the influenza family that has appeared in every region of the world being used to raise Atlantic salmon in net pen feedlots. It has killed more salmon than any other virus known, causing $2 billion in damages in Chile.

Seven labs have found segments of European strain ISA virus in BC2. This is an internationally reportable virus. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has gone on record stating the U.S. does not want ISA virus infected farm salmon entering the U.S. from Canada. When seven labs find one thing, and the one 'official' lab reports the opposite, the public are at risk.

“There is a quite a backstory here, hidden test results, destructive attacks on the labs reporting positives, samples confiscated and destroyed,” says independent biologist Alexandra Morton who is tracking ISA virus in BC. “If I could ask one question it would be: Why is the CFIA not looking for this Atlantic virus in the millions of Atlantic salmon in feedlots in BC? Wouldn't that be the first place to look?”

Morton is calling for the CFIA to reveal the details of their test protocol and to submit their work to peer-review by the scientific community that is tracking this virus in salmon farms around the world. This situation needs to be reviewed by scientific peers. The public likely wants to be protected from eating influenza-type viruses in their salmon.

For more on how Canada is handling ISA virus, see


For more information contact:
Alexandra Morton is a researcher currently at sea tracking ISA virus.