Cantwell Lauds Frankenfish Labeling Provision in Omnibus

Bill mandates FDA develop labeling requirements for genetically engineered salmon

WASHINGTON, D.C. Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on the provision included in the omnibus spending bill that would require the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to layout guidelines for the mandatory labeling of genetically engineered (GE) salmon and prevents interstate commerce for GE salmon prior FDA publishing said guidelines.

“I am a strong supporter of labeling requirements for genetically engineered salmon. Consumers have a right to know whether they are buying Washington’s world-class wild salmon or Frankenfish engineered in a lab,” said Senator Cantwell. “The FDA’s genetically engineered salmon decision is bad for consumers and potentially bad for our environment. If the FDA doesn’t reverse its decision, it’s critical the agency develop clear and transparent labeling requirements for genetically engineered salmon.”

In November, Cantwell released a statement condemning the FDA’s decision to approve GE salmon. The newly approved GE salmon grow much faster than normal Atlantic salmon, reaching market size in 16 to 18 months instead of three years. Additionally, little is known about the potential biological impact of escaped genetically engineered fish on wild salmon populations. Without this provision, the FDA would not require labeling on genetically engineered salmon, leaving consumers in the dark about what they are buying.

Cantwell has long fought GE salmon by cosponsoring amendments to require additional science as well as to require labeling. Following the FDA’s draft environmental assessment of GE salmon, Cantwell expressed strong concerns with the approval process including a lack of transparency and lack of consideration given to potential threats to natural salmon species and their ecosystems.