Sen. Begich Denounces FDA ‘Frankenfish’ Approval Procedure

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Two Atlantic Salmon of the same age, though the top one was genetically modified to grow faster by AquaBounty Technologies.

Jay Barrett/KMXT

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is wrapping up the public comment period for genetically-engineered Atlantic Salmon, which if approved, would be the very first such animal product approved for human consumption. Alaska’s congressional delegation is solidly against the approval, and Senator Mark Begich last week introduced legislation to fight what has come to be known as "Frankenfish."

(Begich 1 35 sec "This is companion legislation … what they’re buying.")

Begich blasted the FDA’s review policy of the Aqua Bounty product, which uses eel and Chinook salmon genes to create an Atlantic salmon that grows twice as fast. He called the process "bad public policy."

(Begich 2 37 sec "The fact that there is clearly … put into our marketplace.")

Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski and Washington State Senator Patty Murray are co-sponsors of Begich’s legislation. All are concerned that if genetically modified salmon does make it to grocery store coolers without being labeled as such, the lucrative Alaska wild salmon industry could be damaged:

(Begich 3 26 sec "The fact is we’ve created … tell the difference.")

Alaskans can leave comments on the FDA web site through today, which is the deadline for public input:

(Begich 4 31 sec "It does not mean they will … that’s what we’re working on.")

Begich last week also blasted Time Magazine, which called the genetically-engineered salmon one of the top 50 inventions of 2010. He said the "Frankenfish" should instead have been featured in the magazine’s Halloween issue.

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