Murkowski Introduces GE Salmon Labeling Bill
Legislation Mandates Clear Labeling, Requires Environmental Review of GE Salmon
U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) recently introduced new legislation (attached) to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered salmon, continuing her years-long fight against “Frankenfish.”
The Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, co-sponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) requires any salmon that is genetically engineered to be labeled as “genetically engineered” or “GE.” The bill also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to ensure a third-party independent scientific review of the FDA’s environmental assessment for all GE finfish, including GE salmon, for human consumption.
“The primary purpose of this bill is to ensure that consumers have all the facts and can make an informed decision when they are purchasing salmon. There’s a huge difference between ‘Frankenfish’ and the wild, healthy, sustainably-caught, delicious real thing – and I want to make sure folks are aware of that. I will not accept that this ‘fake fish’ will be sold in stores without clear labeling,” said Senator Murkowski. “Additionally, this bill would create a much-needed review of the environmental assessment process within the FDA for the approval of these new species that are being created in labs. The potential for escapement from pens to occur from hatcheries and any facility where fish are grown would decrease the immense value of our fisheries. These ‘Frankenfish’ could wreak havoc upon wild stocks and pose a serious threat to the livelihoods of fishermen everywhere. Americans deserve to know exactly what the effects of these new species will be upon the ecosystem.”
- November 2015: In response to the FDA’s decision to approve GE salmon for human consumption, Murkowski announced that she would block the confirmation of Dr. Robert Califf to be FDA Commissioner until her concerns regarding labeling guidelines for GE salmon had been resolved.
- December 2015: Murkowski successfully inserted a provision in the omnibus bill that blocks 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.
- January 2016: Murkowski officially placed a hold on Dr. Califf’s confirmation after he advanced out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.
- January 2016: In direct response to Senator Murkowski’s efforts, the FDA announced an import ban on GE salmon until labeling guidelines had been published.
- February 2016: The FDA provided Senator Murkowski with technical drafting assistance on legislative language that would effectively mandate labeling of GE salmon, and in response Senator Murkowski lifted her hold on Dr. Califf’s nomination.
- March 2016: Senators Murkowski, Sullivan, and Cantwell introduce legislation to mandate labeling of GE salmon.
- July 2016: Senator Murkowski votes against the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act, which would have allowed the voluntary (not mandatory) labeling on GE salmon.