Federal Issue Brief

 H.R. 520/ S. 229, To Amend the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act to Require Labeling of Genetically-Engineered Fish

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AVMA Position:



This legislation would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to deem a food to be misbranded if it contains genetically-engineered fish unless the food bears a label stating that it contains genetically-engineered fish.


Science has shown that genetically engineered fish do not present a food safety concern and do not pose a public health risk. While the AVMA recognizes the consumer's right to be informed about the content of food, the AVMA feels that labeling the products might suggest to the consumer that there is cause for concern. The AVMA is also concerned that the provisions in the legislation might have the potential to inappropriately circumvent a well-established scientific regulatory process. H.R. 520/ S. 229 is also inconsistent with AVMA policy, "Use of Biotechnology in Veterinary Medicine and Animal Agriculture," which states that the use of biotechnology should not be restricted so long as it does not negatively impact the integrity of the environment and the health, safety, and well-being of the resulting animals, the animals receiving or consuming the resulting products, or the consumers of animal products. The AVMA supports a science-based regulatory policy for the approval of products developed through biotechnology.

Current Status:

H.R. 520/ S. 229 was introduced 2/08/11 and referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Health. S. 229 was introduced on 1/31/11 and referred to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.

AVMA Contact:

Dr. Ashley S. Morgan, 202-289-3210