Alaska's Senators Ask for Clear Labeling for Frankenfish as the Salmon Continues Towards Approval
An amendment to the continuing Resolution being debated in the Senate was filed yesterday by Alaska's senators, Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich. The amendment called for clear and unquestionable labeling being placed on salmon products that have been genetically modified.
This is the latest obstacle placed in the path of Aquabounty as that company moves to place their GM salmon on storeshelves for human consumption.
There is concern in many corners that the genetically engineered salmon that has genes spliced from eel pout and a growth hormone from Chinook salmon will elevate the potential for allergies and that the elevated levels IGF-1 growth hormone will increase the risk of colon, prostate, and breast cancer.
The Food and Drug Administration pushed through approval of the genetically engineered salmon during the Christmas break this past year and is currently in the public comment stage of the approval. It is expected that that approval will go through and GE salmon, affectionately nick-named "Frankenfish" will be on store shelves by next year.
Yesterday's amendment by Alaska's senators will at least ensure that Americans will know the difference between natural salmon and the salmon that have been genetically engineered.
“When any consumer is clearly presented with an option of natural salmon – particularly from Alaska – against putting some chemistry experiment on their plate, there really is no choice at all,” said Senator Murkowski. “With all the splicing and the scientific wizardry going on behind the scenes, I’m not even sure they should be labeled as ‘salmon’ in the first place.”
“Alaskans deserve to know what is on their dinner plates, especially if it’s something that was grown in a science lab or was caught across the globe,” said Senator Begich. “With Alaskans world renowned stocks of wild salmon, every effort needs to be made to protect the hard-working fishermen selling a real, wild product from imposters trying to trick consumers.”
In Alaska On Friday, Alaska's House Joint Resolution 5, calling on the FDA to reconsider the preliminary findings on the environmental impact of genetically engineered salmon as well as requiring GM salmon to be labeled as such, passed out of the Senate Resources Committee after hearing public comment. That resolution now has 27 co-sponsors in the House and another six in the Senate.
That resolution now goes on the the Senate Rules Committee.
It is widely believed that the FDA completed its draft environmental assessment of the salmon in April, but the application was frozen after it had made its way through all of the required and appropriate agencies. The reason for the stoppage may have been a political one as the elections were quickly approaching and the administration feared that the approval would have infuriated a portion of Obama's base.
When asked about the holdup on the approval, FDA Spokesperson Siobhan Delancey said to ask the White House and was willing to say no more.