Photo: endora57, Flickr
The Food and Drug Administration has yet to approve genetically engineered salmon, but lawmakers in California and Alaska are not waiting around for the FDA's ruling on the so-called "Frankenfish." Representatives in both states recently introduced bills to keep the GE salmon in check.
As we previously reported, the AquaAdvantage salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies is essentially an Atlantic salmon modified with genes from a Chinook salmon and an ocean pout, which makes for a faster-growing fish that requires 10 percent less feed. Regardless of a wary public, a protest letter by 11 Pacific Northwestern senators, and strong warnings by an overwhelming amount of government scientists and public interest groups, the FDA looks to be moving closer to approving the salmon.
Last month, California State Assemblyman Jared Huffman introduced a bill requiring any of the salmon sold in the state to be clearly labeled for the public, and this week Alaska senators reintroduced their bills, one to ban the GE animal from being cultivated in Alaskan waters and one to require that it be labeled.
The Alaskan bipartisan bills come from senators Mark Begich (D-AK) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). Says Begich: "Frankenfish threatens our wild stocks, their habitat, our food safety and would bring economic harm to Alaska's wild salmon fishermen," reports Food Safety News. The fish are "risky, unprecedented and unnecessary," he adds.
Just like any other GMO, this salmon is a patented product. Once fishermen own the product -- or their waters are unintentionally contaminated with the product -- they'll have to continue purchasing it to continue using it. Just as GM corn seeds can't be saved, these salmon won't breed on their own. And as opponents have warned, there's no telling if they're safe for human consumption, as the FDA has not conducted adequate testing.
States hold the power to enact their own laws regarding the salmon's approval in their states, so we may soon see similar action from Oregon and Washington.
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