House takes First Step to Ban GE Salmon

Congress' moves to ban Genetically Engineered salmon but action is greeted with more debate.

Published on: Jun 29, 2011

An amendment offered on the House floor would ban the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from using any funding to approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, beginning next fiscal year. A voice vote approved the amendment to an agriculture spending bill.

"The House of Representatives took an important first step toward banning genetically engineered salmon," says Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch.

"The FDA's approval process for genetically engineered salmon has been controversial and flawed. Little consideration has been given to both the environmental and human health impacts of the fish, which would be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption. It appears the FDA was operating for the benefit of AquaBounty, the company that produces the fish, rather than in the public's interest. That the House is stepping in and prohibiting the FDA from using its FY2012 funds to approve this science experiment is a move in the right direction."

House vote would ban using any funding to approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, beginning next fiscal year. DWR photo
House vote would ban using any funding to approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage salmon, beginning next fiscal year. DWR photo

Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), took an opposite view.  

"This amendment does a grave disservice to our Government's science-based regulatory system. President Obama has called for America to lead on new technologies so as to foster new industries, more jobs and enhanced economic benefit. This amendment would present new barriers to achieving that goal.

"Allowing politicians to substitute their judgment for that of scientific experts within the Food and Drug Administration circumvents a comprehensive and well-established approval process, and sets a dangerous precedent for the development of any policies related to food production and human health.  

"When it comes to the food we eat and serve our families, accredited scientific experts – not politicians – need to make all determinations about safety and health."  

More Information on this issue is posted online:

FDA's analysis and other summary documents related to the AquAdvantage Salmon are posted HERE

BIO's Online GE Animal Resource Center has more information about animal biotechnology at bio.org/foodag/animal_biotech/#genetic.