Murkowski Blasts FDA’s Decision to Allow GE Salmon to Enter U.S. Without Clear Labeling

‘Short-sighted and Wrong-headed’

U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) issued the following statement after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) deactivated a 2016 import alert that prevented Genetically Engineered (GE) salmon from entering the U.S. market:

“I’m extremely disappointed in the FDA’s short-sighted decision. It is wrong-headed and a bad idea, simple as that. I am not going to back down and will continue my fight to ensure that any salmon product that is genetically engineered be clearly labeled,” said Senator Murkowski. “USDA’s new guidelines don’t require adequate mandatory labeling and don’t suffice as giving consumers clear information. Instead, they will only confuse people. I continue to have serious concerns about splicing DNA from two animals to produce a new marketable fish, essentially creating a new species. American consumers deserve to know what they purchasing, and ultimately eating.”

This Congress, Senator Murkowski introduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act to ensure that any GE salmon products in the U.S. market are clearly labeled “genetically engineered” in the market name.

Background: In December 2015, Murkowski successfully inserted a provision in the omnibus appropriations bill that blocked the FDA from introducing GE salmon into the market until it publishes labeling guidelines so consumers are aware of what is contained in the product they are purchasing. One month later, in direct response to Senator Murkowski’s efforts, the FDA announced an import ban on GE salmon until labeling guidelines had been published. Fast forward to December 2018, the USDA published labeling guidelines for genetically engineered foods including GE salmon. These guidelines don’t require mandatory labeling of GE salmon, and instead allow producers to use QR codes or 1-800 numbers for more information. Regardless, these guidelines led to the FDA’s decision to deactivate the import ban.