The federal spending bill is preventing the Food and Drug Administration to approve marketing genetically-modified Atlantic salmon. Congress demands that the FDA spend at least $150,000 to develop a labeling program for the so-called AquaAdvantage salmon, produced by a Massachusetts-based company. The FDA had approved the fish without requiring any special labeling.
The genetically-engineered salmon have a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon and a gene from the ocean pout, according to a report in the Washington Post. The fish, which some are calling “Frankenfish,” grows twice as fast, making it ready for consumption in 18 months instead of three years.
Commercial fishermen, activists and lawmakers speculate that the consumption of the genetically-engineered fish could cause harm both to the environment and to the people who consume them.
The Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation is not happy with the creation of the salmon.
“We’re working with the Columbia River Tribal Fish Commission, where we’re members, and the other treaty tribes really opposing the idea of genetically-modified salmon,” CTUIR Director of Communications Chuck Sams said.
Sams says that CTUIR also has questions about how healthy it would be to consume the genetically-engineered fish.
“The reintroduction of salmon in their more natural state is much more healthy for all of us,” he said. “We don’t know the long-term effects of what those genetically-modified fish will do to our own bodies.”
Meanwhile, several large food chains have already said they will not sell the genetically-engineered fish. Those include Costco, Whole Foods and Target.