House Votes to Bar FDA Approval of Genetically Modified Salmon

The U.S. House has voted to bar the Food and Drug Administration from approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

Alaska Representative Don Young sponsored the amendment, which passed by voice vote Wednesday night and is part of a farm spending bill.

“They were gonna declare it an edible fish and make it legal in the markets. And my point is, no one’s had a chance to study the effect upon the wild salmon. Or in fact can they pollute the wild salmon in time. So I argued that until that’s done there should be no making it legal,” Young said.

Young says he’s concerned about the health impacts of eating the genetically modified fish, their impact on wild salmon, and the competition they’ll give to fishermen in Alaska.

His amendment prevents the FDA from using money to approve an application for the modified fish. A Massachusetts company AquaBounty has created the modified salmon, which some call “Frankenfish.” It includes a growth hormone that makes the fish grow twice as fast as natural salmon.

The bill banning approval of genetically modified fish has to pass the Senate to stick. Both of Alaska’s Senators Mark Begich and Lisa Murkowski are co-sponsoring a companion bill in their chamber.

The Food and Drug Administration is expected to decide this year whether to approve the genetically modified fish. An initial advisory panel deemed it likely safe last year but called for more studies.

If the FDA gives its approval, it would be the first time a genetically altered fish or animal would be allowed on America’s plates.