Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Genetically Modified Salmon, If Approved, Would Need Identification Label

There’s no decision yet from the US Food and Drug Administration on whether to allow genetically modified salmon to be sold to the public, but if  it is, that product would have to be specifically labeled as different from wild salmon.

The Senate Appropriations Committee this week approved an amendment in the federal agriculture spending legislation to require labeling of the product.  Among those backing the amendment were Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich.  Both strongly oppose the product, which they call “Frankenfish.”

“This would be the first time ever that the FDA has approved for human consumption a genetically engineered fish,” Murkowski said.

“This is an experiment that, if it went wrong, could be absolutely devastating to the wild healthy stocks that swim off the coast of Alaska, up past California, Oregon and Washington state, she said.

“What this does is it takes a transgenic Atlantic salmon egg, which has genes from an ocean pout, somewhat akin to an eel, and it combines with the genes of a Chinook salmon. …. This experiment I think puts at risk the health of our fisheries not only in Alaska, but throughout the Pacific Northwest.”

Murkowski noted that to date more than 1.5 million people have written in opposition to approval of the genetically tweaked salmon, and 65 supermarkets have said they won’t carry it.”

An aide to Murkowski said he anticipates a final vote on the matter this summer in Congress, before the 2015 fiscal year begins.

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