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Genetically Altered Salmon Spook Northwest Lawmakers

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page, Millions Against Monsanto page, Alaska News page, and our Washington News page.

Fearing for the wild salmon industry in the Northwest, Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington state wants to stop the Food and Drug Administration from making a quick decision on whether to approve genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption.

Republican Rep. Don Young of Alaska says that Congress can't allow "these alien fish to infect our stocks."

Murray and Young are part of a growing bipartisan coalition on Capitol Hill that's out to stop a Massachusetts biotechnology company from winning federal approval to sell its fast-growing fish, which critics are calling "Frankenfish."

"I'm very concerned this is being rushed through with massive potential for negative ramifications," Murray said.

Two pieces of legislation have been introduced in Congress: The first would ban the fish outright, while the second would require it to be labeled as transgenic if the FDA approves it.

So far, the legislation has the backing of 64 environmental and other organizations, including fishing associations, retailers and the Center for Food Safety, an advocacy group.

Andrew Kimbrell, the center's executive director, said Congress "has to step in to correct the failures of the Obama administration," which he criticized for allowing the FDA to proceed.

"FDA's decision to go ahead with this approval process is misguided and dangerous for consumers, the environment and our economy," he said.

But the fish are not without their fans.

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