Murkowski Lifts Hold on FDA Commissioner Nominee

Senator Receives Assurances from FDA on GE Salmon Labeling Requirements

Today U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) announced that she is lifting her hold on the confirmation of Dr. Robert Califf, the nominee to be Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Murkowski announced she intended to block his nomination in November of 2015 after the FDA’s approval of genetically engineered (GE) salmon for human consumption.

“I placed my hold on Dr. Califf’s nomination until my concerns regarding labeling guidelines for GE salmon had been resolved. Since then, I have been working closely with the FDA to develop labeling guidelines, and I have received the assurances I need that the FDA is taking this matter seriously,” said Murkowski. “Today I am officially lifting my hold on Dr. Robert Califf, and I look forward to working with him in the future for the health and well-being of Alaskans.”


  • 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.