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FDA Rules that GMO Salmon Won’t Require Labeling

The FDA is currently considering whether to approve genetically modified salmon, and most observers think it will be given the green light.

As if this ‘frankenfish,’ as some are dubbing it, wasn’t cause enough for concern, it also appears consumers will not be able to depend on product labeling to separate an engineered salmon from the real thing.

Apparently, the FDA can’t require a label on GMO food once the determination is made that the salmon, in this case, is not ‘materially’ different from real salmon. In addition, according to conventional food producers, the FDA makes it difficult for them to label their products as non-GMO.

The Washington Post states:

“The labeling question has emerged as the FDA determines whether to approve the fish, an Atlantic salmon known as AquAdvantage that grows twice as fast as its natural counterpart. The decision carries great weight because, while genetically modified agriculture has been permitted for years and engineered crops are widely used in processed foods, this would be the first modified animal allowed for human consumption in the United States.The AquAdvantage salmon has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon.”

Consumer advocates are concerned about how large the no-labeling problem will grow, since GM beef, pork and other fish are next in line behind salmon for FDA consideration.

The biotech industry claims mandatory labeling will confuse consumers, most of whom are not well-informed about genetically engineered foods.

"Extra labeling only confuses the consumer," said David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. "It differentiates products that are not different. As we stick more labels on products that don't really tell us anything more, it makes it harder for consumers to make their choices."