U.S. Senators Mark Begich (D-Alaska) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) have spearheaded a bill (S. 230) that would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prevent the approval of genetically engineered (GE) fish. Companion legislation (S. 229) would require labeling of any genetically engineered fish should such fish get approved.

Noting that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering a proposal by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc., to produce GE salmon as the first such food hybrid safe for human consumption, the senators reintroduced legislation they co-sponsored in the last congressional session in hopes of implementing a quick ban of GE fish.

Calling GE fish “Frankenfish ” that is “risky, unprecedented and unnecessary,” Begich said in a statement that such fish “threatens our wild stocks, their habitat, our food safety, and would bring economic harm to Alaska’s wild salmon fishermen.” Citing strong opposition to GE salmon, Begich added that “it is completely irresponsible for the FDA to even consider this action without evaluating the impacts on Alaska’s fisheries. The FDA has not studied the environmental effects, let alone the economic impacts on the salmon and seafood markets that would result from approval.” More details about GE salmon appear in Issue 366 of this Update. See Press Release of Senator Mark Begich, January 31, 2011.