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Op-Ed: California 'Right to Know' campaign news release: May 24, 2012

By Anne Sewell     May 24, 2012 in Food
A near majority of U.S. Senators voted today to delay 'Frankenfish', which shows public concern about genetically engineered foods.
Today, May 24, 2012, a close majority of U.S. Senators voted for Senator Lisa Murkowski's (R-Alaska) amendment to further study genetically modified salmon before it ends up on the dinner plates of Americans.
The vote was 46 in favor and 50 opposed to the amendment, with 60 votes required for passage.
In her floor speech, Senator Murkowski laid out many concerns with what she referred to as "Frankenfish" and "test tube salmon."
Stacy Malkan, media director of the California Right to Know ballot initiative to label genetically engineered foods said:
“This vote reconfirms that Americans are deeply concerned about the risks of genetically engineered food."
"It is significant that this worthy effort was led by a conservative Republican, and this is yet another sign that Americans across the political spectrum strongly support the right to know and the right to choose what’s in our food.”
This amendment would have required economic and environmental impact studies to be made on the first genetically engineered animal being introduced into the human food supply. The salmon was created by AquaBounty Technologies and has been engineered to contain a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon, as well as a genetic switch from an eel-like creature.
Senator Murkowski said when she proposed the measure last month, “We’re messing with what Mother Nature has done.”
As reported in the New York Times, Murkowsky said her measure was necessary because AquaBounty fish might be harmful to eat, could damage wild fisheries if they were to escape into the ocean, and might out-compete wild salmon for food or mates.
In a recent press release, Murkowsky said:
“We need to look before we leap here, and make that a long hard look. This means that we not only make sure that genetically-engineered salmon is healthy to put in our bodies and doesn’t endanger our fishery resources, but also that it is healthy to our coastal environments and economies. Alaska produces over half of the nation’s seafood, and constructing fish in a lab is a science experiment that adds a new variable to the equation – we need to fill in all the blanks before we put Frankenfish on our plates.”
Stacy Malkan, media director of the California Right to Know GMO labeling initiative added, “Filling in the blanks also includes informing consumers, via labels, about whether they are eating genetically engineered foods.”
Californians will vote on the GMO labeling initiative this November. Malkan stated:
“We have a right to know what’s in the food we eat and feed our children. In California, we’re taking this issue straight to the voters. They will surely vindicate our right to know this November.”
Polls reveal that the overwhelming majority of Americans from both political parties and all demographics want to know if their food contains genetically engineered ingredients.
More than 40 other countries already require such labeling.
For more information about the California Right to Know campaign, visit
Contact: Stacy Malkan, 510-542-9224,
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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