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Rep. Young’s Frankenfish Amendment Passes House

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Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) is close to effectively banning the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) from considering genetically modified salmon. His amendment passed the House by a voice vote last night. A vote on final passage of H.R. 2112 will take place this afternoon.

Young introduced two pieces of legislation on February 8—one would require that genetically engineered fish are labeled as such, and the other would ban genetically-modified fish, according to a government press release.

Young’s legislation came in response to a proposal by AquaBounty Technologies, a Boston-based company seeking to produce a biotech salmon called AquAdvantage, currently being reviewed by the FDA. AquaBounty's genetically engineered super-salmon is the first genetically-engineered animal being considered for human consumption by the FDA.

“Frankenfish is uncertain and unnecessary,” said Rep. Young. “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. Additionally, there are no guarantees that the fish eggs will not be sold to other nations, where open water net pens are more common or on the other end of the spectrum, cause countries with strict regulations on genetically modified foods to reject U.S. salmon, hurting the U.S. fishing industry during an ongoing economic recession."

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The potential for a salmon-animal drug strikes close to home for the Alaskan representative.

"Frankenfish is bad policy all around. I eat Alaskan wild salmon and I support Alaskan wild salmon and I will not allow these fake fish to affect our healthy stocks,” Young said in a statement.