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Congressman Don Young. (Photo: Don Young Twitter)

Congressmen introduce bills to ban GE salmon

Click on the flag for more information about United States UNITED STATES
Friday, January 23, 2015, 22:40 (GMT + 9)

A bipartisan group introduced this week two pieces of legislation intended to prevent genetically engineered (GE) fish from making its way onto the nation's dinner plates and spreading into the nation's oceans, a move which could pose another hurdle for AquaBounty Technologies to get final approval for its GE salmon.

The first bill, H.R. 394, the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States (PEGASUS) Act, would effectively ban all GE fish in the United States by prohibiting the shipment, sale, transportation, purchase, procession, or release into the wild of GE salmon or other GE finfish unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service completes a full environmental impact statement and concludes that it will result in no such impact to the environment.

The second bill, H.R. 393, would improve efforts to inform the American consumer by requiring the labeling of all GE fish sold for consumption. With the growing concerns for approval of GE fish for human consumption, H.R. 393 would force the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require the labeling of these controversial products.

"The FDA is reviewing GE salmon as if it were a new animal drug, but this type of review process is obviously dead wrong for a product destined for our dinner plates. Furthermore, it fails to consider the possible threat GE fish pose to natural salmon fisheries in this nation," said Alaskan Congressman Don Young, one of the members of the group.

“The PEGASUS Act's message is unmistakable, it tells federal regulators to rethink their approach before a monumental mistake is made that cannot be undone. As lawmakers, we must do everything in our power to protect the public and one of the finest products in the world.”

Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) added: "No genetically engineered salmon should be in our waters or on our dinner plates, unless a full environmental study, using the best available science is conducted to make sure these fish won't harm natural salmon, our fisherman, and the health of American families."

"The FDA's evaluation of these fish is inadequate. Until rigorous scientific studies are completed, these fish shouldn't be in our waters or stores."

Since 1996, AquaBounty Technologies has been developing GE salmon with the hopes of receiving FDA approval to sell it for human consumption.  

In 2012, the FDA published a draft Environmental Assessment for GE salmon holding that the product is unlikely to cause significant effects on the environment and is safe to eat.  However, although the public comment period ended on this controversial assessment two years ago, the FDA has not announced their final decision.

Related articles:

- AquaBounty rejects 'misinterpretation' of environment authority's sanctions
-
AquaBounty CEO 'disappointed' by another setback
-
AquaBounty still confident its transgenic salmon will be approved

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