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New California Bill Calls for GMO Labeling

origami salmon

California bill AB88 supports labeling genetically engineered fish.

California Assembly member Jared Huffman and Ocean Conservancy’s George Leonard appeared before the Assembly Committee on Health Tuesday to discuss AB 88, which would require any genetically engineered fish sold in California to be clearly labeled. This is a timely bill, as the FDA comes ever closer to approving the first genetically engineered fish, GE Salmon, despite receiving over than 360,000 public comments against the genetically modified fish.

Leonard says, “AB 88 is critically important legislation for all Californians,” not only because of questions about genetically modified food’s long term health effects but because of the risk that farmer GE salmon pose to wild salmon

Leonard talked a bit more about the bill and its purpose:

While not enough is known about the potential impacts of genetically engineered salmon to conclude it is safe for the environment, at the end of the day, this issue is much larger than salmon – it is about the future of fish. If and how to proceed with genetically engineered salmon should be part of a broader, national debate about sustainable seafood and how to proactively plan for the future we desire. Assembly member Huffman is to be commended for introducing legislation that will both empower California consumers and foster this much needed national discussion on the future of our seafood supply.

Thirteen other states have introduced similar legislation this year to require labeling of genetically engineered fish or other food.

Genetically engineered foods are labeled in other countries, but the FDA has dragged its feet on the labeling issue. If these foods are as safe and beneficial as the biotech companies claim, why so much push-back about empowering U.S. consumers to know what they’re buying?

Take Action

Do you want GE salmon to be labeled? You can sign the Food & Water Watch petition letting President Obama and the FDA know how you feel.

Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Joseph Wu Origami

7 comments
    1. Becky Striepe

      It’s crazy to me that these same companies that manage to label GM foods overseas resist it so much in the US and Canada. I understand that they’re afraid it will hurt their bottom lines, but I don’t think that’s a good reason to keep consumers in the dark. Whatever happened to ethics?

  1. Evan

    At least they’re labeling them. I still don’t see how they can guarantee these fish won’t reproduce with wild fish… seems like a pretty big gamble to me.

    1. Becky Striepe

      The problem is that they aren’t labeling them, despite consumer outcry. I agree with you on breeding these fish being a huge gamble. They have a competitive advantages over wild salmon, and if they escape into the wild, they’ll wreak havoc on salmon populations!

  2. Elana

    this is an excellent step forward. we need clearer labeling on everything. i agree becky that it is dangerous to mix GMO fish and wild fish and what that does to the whole food chain.

  3. Jersey Farmer

    Since Monsanto has moved its corporate offices into the White House,it appears that our only chance to get genetically modified foods labeled, is to press our state legislators to take action to require labeling of GMOs. If California can get a bill passed, it may start the ball rolling.We need to keeping writing and calling our legislators and keep the pressure on them.

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