Murkowski and Colleagues Stand Up for Wild-Caught Salmon

Reintroduce Bill for Clear Labels on Genetically Engineered Salmon

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) reintroduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, which will allow consumers to make informed decisions when purchasing salmon. The bill works to ensure that any genetically engineered (GE) salmon products sold in the U.S. are clearly labeled “genetically engineered” in the market name. This requirement would apply to the entire lineage of salmon modified via recombinant DNA technology. The bill is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR).

“It is absolutely essential that consumers be fully informed about what they are buying and feeding their families—especially when it comes to purchasing a genetically engineered salmon product. As an Alaskan who knows the tremendous benefits of eating healthy, wild Alaskan salmon, it’s imperative that Americans have the information to make that choice. When you splice DNA from another animal and combine it with farmed salmon, you are essentially creating a new species, and I have serious concerns with that. If we are going to allow this fake fish to be sold in stores, there must be clear labeling. We owe it to American consumers to ensure that any labeling of GE salmon is clear, effective, and understandable.”

Background: Through her role on the Appropriations Committee, Senator Murkowski has included language in previous appropriation bills to prevent the introduction of GE salmon to the U.S. market until the completion of a consumer study to determine the effectiveness of USDA’s labeling guidelines for bioengineered foods. USDA’s labeling guidelines did not require mandatory labeling of GE salmon, but instead allowed producers to use QR codes or 1-800 numbers for more information, which Senator Murkowski stressed were inadequate. Senator Murkowski’s years-long fight to ensure that any salmon that is genetically engineered be clearly labeled goes back to November 2015, when the FDA made the decision to approve GE salmon for human consumption.

Related Issues: Alaska's Fisheries