Efforts to require labeling of genetically modified salmon, should the Food and Drug Administration approve their sale to the public, are back on board in Congress.
An amendment introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, would require such labeling if sale of the so-called Frankenfish were allowed to US consumers.
The amendment was added to the fiscal year 2016 Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration spending bill now headed to the Senate floor.
“Genetically engineered salmon starts from a transgenic Atlantic salmon egg, which has had genes from an ocean pout (an eel-like fish) combined with the genes of Chinook salmon,” Murkowski told the Senate Appropriations Committee when introducing her amendment.
“It is designed to produce a fish that grows twice the size in half the time. If the FDA moves forward, as it currently is, there would not be a requirement to ensure that people know what it is that they are eating.”
The Alaska Republican said she had heard from those in the agriculture sector that they were concerned that this move might overlay on top of labeling requirements for crops.
“I would just remind you,” she said, “corn does not swim from one field to another and propagate with other corn in another state. Fish move. Fish escape. We’re told these genetically engineered fish will not mix with our wild, healthy stocks. Yet you can’t assure us that this in fact will be the case.”
In the US House last week, meanwhile, Rep. Don Young, R-Alaska, voted in favor of H.R. 1599, a bill that would block states like Alaska from requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified fish.
The measure passed the House by a vote of 275-150.
Young posted a statement on his Facebook page after the vote on establishing federal standards for voluntary labeling of genetically modified foods.
He said he has been very clear in his opposition to this legislation, but that he incorrectly voted in favor of it. “Unfortunately,” Young told Facebook followers, “by the time I realized my error, the vote had closed and I was unable to change my vote to no.”
Young said he submitted a statement for the record to clarify his opposition to the bill, but wanted to share the information directly with his Facebook readers.