The US House of Representatives passed the amendment to H.R. 2112, the House agricultural appropriations bill, co-sponsored by Republican Don Young and Repulbican Lynn Woolsey to prohibit funding for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of salmon grown from AquaBounty Technologies’ AquAdvantage salmon eggs.
AquaBounty is currently seeking approval from the FDA to sell genetically-modified salmon.
Ronald Stotish, President and CEO of AquaBounty Technologies said that the amendment was voted on by fewer than ten of the total 435 House members.
The FDA has conducted a rigorous 15-year review of thousands of pages of data and has concluded that these fish are exactly the same as any other Atlantic salmon and, therefore, are safe for consumption.
In addition, the fish will be sterile and required to be grown in self-contained inland tanks, so pose no threat to the environment.
The United Nations reports that the wild caught fisheries are severely stressed, with major food species potentially extinct by 2050, yet the demand for fish protein is exploding worldwide. America currently imports more than 97 per cent of the Atlantic salmon consumed here, so Young et al are really supporting foreign salmon producers.
Mr Stotish commented on the amendment saying that the House of representatives is “wrong on the facts, wrong on the process and wrong on the policy.”
He continued: “A handful of representatives have chosen to subvert the FDA’s rigorous 15-year plus process. It completely ignores the results of a rigorous scientific review. This sort of political gamesmanship undermines the science based system that protects the nation’s health and safety.”
“It is astonishing that Mr Young and a few colleagues would try to game the system in this way."
“Whether or not you support this transgenic salmon, we should all agree these types of shenanigans have no place in a complex scientific debate. These actions threaten the fundamental basis of a science based regulatory process.”
“Americans deserve better from their elected representatives,” he concluded.
Although Mr Stotish says the bioengineered salmon is safe for consumption, Mr Young said he still had concerns about the salmon, which he has dubbed, “Frankenfish.”
Mr Young said: “Frankenfish is uncertain and unnecessary. Should it receive approval as an animal drug, it clears the path to introduce it into the food supply; my amendment cuts them off before they can get that far. Any approval of genetically modified salmon could seriously threaten wild salmon populations as they grow twice as fast and require much more food.
“Any approval of genetically modified salmon could seriously threaten wild salmon populations as they grow twice as fast and require much more food."