A bipartisan group of lawmakers is urging the U.S. Food and Drug Administration not to dismiss congressional opposition to the approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon.

House and Senate lawmakers each sent separate letters to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg Friday urging the agency to not approve the fast-growing GE fish, primarily over economic and environmental concerns. The House approved an amendment by Congressman Don Young (R-AK) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) last month that would bar the FDA from spending money to approve an application for the controversial salmon.

In their letter, senators from key salmon states told Hamburg they have drafted a similar amendment to be introduced in the Senate.

“Given the strong and growing congressional opposition to the approval of GE fish in both chambers, spending time on further review of GE fish would be a waste of taxpayer dollars,” reads the letter.

“FDA hasn’t considered all of the potential negative impacts of genetically-altered fish and the strong opposition in Congress to approving something that could decimate wild salmon populations,” said Sen. Begich (D-AK) in a statement Friday. “Recent scientific evidence shows that if genetically-modified salmon escape, they could successfully breed with wild stocks, potentially destroying the genetic adaptations that have allowed fish to thrive for millennia. Alaska wild salmon is abundant and sustainable. 

“We don’t need Frankenfish threatening our fish populations and the coastal communities that rely on them,” added Begich.

AquaBounty, the company that developed the salmon technology, insists the salmon pose no threat to human health and will be kept out of wild salmon populations; and an FDA assessment last September concluded the salmon is safe to eat and will not harm the environment. But many consumer groups and much of the seafood industry remain staunchly opposed to the idea.

Senators Begich, Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Daniel Akaka (D-HI), and Patty Murray (D-WA) signed the letter from the upper chamber.

Around a dozen House lawmakers joined Representatives Young and Woolsey on the House side.

  • Doc Mudd

    This “GE” salmon obviously has real potential to take some fishing pressure off wild populations. Enough potential to animate congressmen into protective mode in their fishy districts.
    So, congressmen aren’t comatose, after all! Too bad congress can’t be animated to act on something worthwhile, like Marler’s proposed E. coli food adulterant classifications. Not threatening enough to district campaign donors, I guess.

  • federal microbiologist

    ..…all the studies submitted to the FDA showing that GMO salmon are ‘safe to eat’ and don’t provoke allergic reactions were done by…
    ‚Ķ.AquaBounty, the same company seeking FDA approval of the salmon…
    ….and these studies were conducted on sample sizes of six fish(selected from cohorts of 100 or more fish – selected randomly, or non-randomly, no one knows).
    AquaBounty removed deformed fish from their samples prior to analysis, and did not examine non-adult fish, so the rate of deformities and other anomalies in younger fish (culled from participation in the safety studies) was unknown.
    Data on the presence of deformities in GMO and non-GMO salmon relied on deliberate exclusion of ‘outlier’ measurements from a 2005 study set that indicated a higher rate of deformities in the GMO animals.
    The allergy testing regimen used by AquaBounty consisted of mixing human sera with purees made from six GE salmon fillets, and looking for something called ‘allergic potency’. More modern methods designed to test for food allergies were not conducted.
    Data from an analysis of the allergenic protein content of the GMO salmon was evidently presented upside-down in the document submitted to the FDA, and the data – when examined right-side-up – were so poor, that the agency rejected them.
    This is an example of the ‘good science’ that the agrochemical industry tells us should be employed to arrive at ‘well-informed’ , ‘science-based’ regulatory decisions ?!

  • dangermaus

    The only people that say farmed, GE salmon is good for wild salmon is the people selling it, and the politicians they buy.
    Mudd, you’re the dumbest person on the Internet. The people that run this site are fools for allowing you to continuously dominate their comment boards the way that you do.

  • Doc Mudd

    Hee, hee, hee, hee, hee… dangermaus sez: “Mudd, you’re the dumbest person on the Internet. The people that run this site are fools…”
    Heh, heh, heh. I am flattered, dangermaus, as surely are the fools who run this site. Hee, hee, hee, snort (oops!), hee, hee.
    You are generous with your praise, but not so fast…there is one hell of a lot of stiff competition out there, especially from you and your pretentious foodie cult of rocket scientists – like this typical fat turd imparting all your foodie knowledge of GE salmon (your protege?):
    Not to be outdone, there is this astute genius educating us on progress of the food safety bill (is this guy your clone, dangermaus? are you messing with a little GM on the QT? he sounds just like you!):
    Looks like I, or any worthy mental athlete seeking the profound honor of “the dumbest person on the Internet” would have to be a foodie first. Probably have to be a card-carrying member of 6 or 8 of your loopy inbred acronym-emblazoned activist foodie cults (you know; NOFA, WAPF, FARFA, R-CALF, FOFF, F&WW, etc., etc, ad nauseum…)
    I’m not quite there yet. Sorry to disappoint you, professor d. But from now on I will watch carefully and learn from your example – that should halve my IQ in no time at all, eh? If I can stop laughing long enough. Hee, hee, hee, hee…

  • Ted

    Amen, dangermaus….

  • Doc Mudd

    Hey, dangermaus. In my newly intensified thrust to live up to your lofty expectations I’ll be watching a lot of video ’cause, if I’m gonna become the dumbest person on the Internet I will have to let my reading and comprehension skills erode to the level of, well, yours and your clever foodie friends’.
    So, screw reading. You genius foodies knew this, of course, but I am utterly astonished at what I’ve been missing in the visual arts. Like this excellent piece on GMOs (really!)…
    Heh, heh, there are some pretty intelligent people in there and 2 or 3 who will definitely give me a serious run for my money as “dumbest person on the Internet”. Are you smart enough, dangermaus, to pick ’em out? Maybe you could get a 2nd grader to help you decide?

  • dangermaus

    How much rent are you paying your mom to live in her basement, and how much of your day is committed to hiding how much pot you smoke?

  • federal microbiologist

    always fun to get a rise out of ‘Doc Mudd’, our favorite Comments Troll !

  • Chris Hooymans

    This too will blow up in our faces and be a factor in the ongoing destruction of the oceans. Greed is running the show here, not necessity. All these “heroic” measures to boost food production will be for naught, if humans can’t learn the simple need to establish a truly sustainable population. We are ripping through every resource on the planet faster every year We have exceeded the planet’s ability to regenerate stocks or absorb the massive pollution we are creating. Our open market policy is destroying us faster as the few profit at the expense of the future of our planet. Time for a big rethink about our purpose, before we get a very hard lesson from nature, we didn’t ever want to learn. Is the end near?, The signs are everywhere, if we would just open our eyes to the truth.