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California Assembly Votes To Label GM Fish

US - The California Assembly Health Committee has recently passed a bill which will require GM fish sold in the state to be clearly labelled, giving the consumer the 'right to choose'.

The call for the bill, came after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) held a two-day hearing to consider the safety of Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies’ AquAdvantage salmon in September 2010. This is the first time that the FDA has considered the safety of genetic engineering in animals intended for human consumption as, at present, GM fish is not for sale anywhere in the US.

The fish under consideration is Atlantic salmon, which is given the growth hormone gene of the faster-growing Pacific salmon, along with DNA from the eel-like ocean pout. AquaBounty claims that the resulting AquAvantage salmon reaches maturity at twice the rate of normal Atlantic salmon, and requires 25 per cent less food.

Member of the California Assembly Health Committee, Jared Huffman, presented the bill, AB 88 on 3 May. The bill ruled that any Genetically Engineered (GE) fish sold must be clearly labeled so consumers could have a choice in what they buy and know how their food was produced. The bill was also supported by the Center for Food Safety (CFS).

Rebecca Spector, a director from CFS said: “The FDA has indicated that it will not require these GE fish to be labeled once they are approved. As such, it is incumbent on the California State legislature, starting with the Health Committee, to let the people of California make informed choices about the food they eat by requiring the labeling of GE fish sold in California”.

There has been a large public outcry urging the FDA to decline the AquaBounty application or, if passed, to require mandatory labeling of the salmon.

“Until FDA completes an adequate environmental and human health review of genetically engineered salmon, it is up to individual states to protect consumers and their families,” said Ms. Spector.

the Fish Site Editor

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