The FDA is expected to approve the first genetically modified (GM) food animal for human consumption in the U.S. in the very near future, but that hasn't stopped Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Mark Begich (D-AK) from reintroducing a bill to ban the controversial GM salmon.
AquaBounty Technologies developed the GM fish called AquaAdvantage, which was created by adding growth genes of a Chinook salmon and an antifreeze gene from an ocean pout to an Atlantic salmon. AquaAdvantage salmon are engineered to need as much as 10 percent less feed and grow two times as fast as non-GM Atlantic salmon.
Senator Begich called the GM fish risky and unnecessary and said, "Frankenfish threatens our wild stocks, their habitat, our food safety, and would bring economic harm to Alaska's wild salmon fishermen."
AquaBounty however, insists their technology is safe. They are also in the development stage of creating a hybrid tilapia trout. And according to president and CEO, Ronald Stotish, "We believe the economic and environmental benefits of our salmon will very effectively help to meet the demand for food from the growing world population."
Senators Murkowsil and Begich also introduced a bill that would require labeling of all GM fish.
Agriculture secretary, Tom Vilsack, causing a swell of criticism from organic retail giant, Whole Foods, organic dairy, meat and egg producers Organic Valley and Stonyfield Yogurt as well as The Non-GMO Project, approved Monsanto's Round-up Ready GM alfalfa last month. Monsanto's GM sugar beets were also approved late last week by the USDA, despite a court order for more research to determine the environmental impact of the beets.
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Photo: Ed Kohler