FDA blocking GMO salmon imports until guidelines set
- The FDA is officially blocking GMO salmon imports for now, as requested in the omnibus spending bill passed at the end of last year.
- The provision in the bill says that the FDA "shall not allow the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate comerce of any food that contains genetically engineered salmon until FDA publishes final labeling guidelines for informing consumers of such content."
- The agency approved AquaBounty's AquAdvantage GMO salmon back in November with, as expected, mixed reactions across the industry and other stakeholders. It was the first GMO animal approved for humans to eat.
"The decision has no impact on AquaBounty’s operations as we are not currently importing our salmon into the U.S.," according to AquaBounty CEO Ronald Stotish.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) said in a statement, "I adamantly oppose the FDA’s misguided decision to allow GE salmon to be placed in our kitchens and on our tables, and I firmly believe that mandatory labeling guidelines must be put in place as soon as possible so consumers know what it is they are purchasing."
This predicament has already led to a far-reaching repercussion:
I still oppose the nominee to be FDA Commissioner due to lack of communication over proper labeling of GE salmon.https://t.co/kXhsm0Zj2s— Sen. Lisa Murkowski (@lisamurkowski) January 27, 2016
The FDA's draft guidelines say companies that produce GMO salmon can label it accordingly.
On the whole, GMO labeling has yet to reach any kind of industry consistency. Politico reports a recent meeting with USDA Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, the food industry, and public health advocacy groups regarding GMO labeling didn't come to a successful conclusion. The clock is ticking — Vermont's mandatory GMO labeling bill begins in July — for passing a voluntary GMO labeling bill or reaching another solution. At this point, a compromise is a long-shot.