Update June 17, 2011: The House of Representatives passed an agriculture appropriations bill last night that would deny all funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to approve an application for genetically modified salmon. However, in the same bill, the House also cut funding for the agency to put in place food safety protections that were passed in last December's landmark Food Safety and Modernization Act intended to stem the flow of tainted food into the American food supply. Initially, the agency had asked for $955 million to put extra food safety provisions in place, but the House approved $750 million, $87 million less than the agency's current budget.
RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—Genetically engineered salmon have been controversial since they were first introduced, considering that their safety to humans has never been adequately tested and that they pose serious threats to the longevity of wild salmon populations. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tried to rush through approval of the country's first transgenic animal last September as a "veterinary drug," even though it's intended use is for human foodstuff, but the agency met serious opposition from consumers, environmental advocates, and even lawmakers. Two bills were introduced in the House and Senate to ban the genetically modified fish outright or to require labeling if it were approved. Neither bill has passed.
To get over the legal hurdle, the House of Representatives took another baby step toward banning transgenic salmon. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska), whose state's economy relies heavily on healthy wild salmon stocks, proposed an amendment to a farm spending bill that would prevent the FDA from spending money on approving the application for genetically engineered salmon. The amendment was approved, though Congress will continue to debate the farm spending bill to which it was attached.
House Republicans vote to cut funds to implement food safety law, Washington Post June 16, 2011
House moves to bar genetically modified salmon, San Francisco Chronicle June 15, 2011
House Moves to Ban GE Salmon, Ag Debates Continue, Food Safety News June 16, 2011