Alaskan Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski introduced legislation on the 7th of February 2013 to ban sale or shipping of genetically modified salmon in the United States. The legislation requires that such products be labeled as genetically engineered.
Senator Begich, who is also the Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Oceans and Fisheries, has attacked the FDA announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on its draft report finding that genetically engineered salmon hold “no significant impact” on the environment or public health.
“The notion that consuming Frankenfish is safe for the public and our oceans is a joke,” Begich said. “I will fight tooth and nail with my Alaska colleagues to make sure consumers have a clear choice when it comes to wild and sustainable versus lab-grown science projects.”
“Alaska has been supplying the world with nutritious salmon for decades,” said Begich. “We cannot afford to experiment with the world’s largest wild salmon stocks without the certainty that these fake fish won’t pose a serious environmental risk, especially to wild salmon and their habitat.
“I’m introducing these bills to prevent against science experiments on the plates of Alaska families,” he said.
“The potential that genetically engineered salmon might escape into the wild, interbreed with wild stocks, and compete with those stocks for food would be a disaster not only for wild salmon, but also for the broader ecosystems in which they live,” Begich said. “The FDA lacks the expertise to judge the impact of escaped Frankenfish on wild salmon stocks but these potential impacts must be understood before its production is allowed.”
“We have scientists splicing fish DNA with an antifreeze-like chemical compound and considering feeding that to Americans,” Murkowski said. “That kind of idea didn’t work out so well in ‘Jurassic Park’ and I don’t think we should be going down that dangerous road with a perfect natural brain food like salmon.”
The bill called the Prevention of Escapement of Genetically Altered Salmon in the United States, or PEGASUS, illegalizes the production, selling and shipping of GE salmon in the United States unless the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds it would have no significant impact.
The Senators also introduced introduced S. 248, which would require any genetically engineered salmon product to be labeled as genetically engineered, a proposal that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has consistently rejected.