GE salmon labeling bill survives

Environmental groups praised congressional leaders for “rejecting efforts of the food and chemical industries” to attach a rider to the omnibus spending bill that would block labeling of genetically engineered food on 16 December.

“We thank Congressional leaders for wisely rejecting Big Food’s sneak attack on GMO labeling via a rider on this must-pass spending bill,” said Lisa Archer, food and technology program director at Friends of the Earth. “The vast majority of people want GMO labeling and Friends of the Earth and our allies will continue to fight for our basic right to know what we are feeding our families - a right that 64 countries already guarantee.”

Legislators and environmental groups, meanwhile, are also praising language in the omnibus spending bill that would require the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to develop guidelines on labeling genetically engineered salmon, after it approved the fish last month.

“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,” said U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA).

Mandatory labeling is important because, “When it comes to ‘frankenfish’, people want to know. There are a number of grocery chains who have said they will not sell genetically engineered salmon,” said Bryan Watt, spokesperson for Sen. Cantwell.

The omnibus spending bill provision states: “(a) During fiscal year 2016, the FDA shall not allow the introduction or delivery for introduction into interstate commerce of any food that contains genetically engineered salmon until FDA publishes final labeling guidelines for informing consumers of such content; and (b) Of the amounts made available to the FDA, salaries and expenses, not less than USD 150,000 shall be used to develop labeling guidelines and implement a program to disclose to consumers whether salmon offered for sale to consumers is a genetically engineered variety.”


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