Murkowski Takes Frankenfish Fight to FDA in Hearing

Senator Gets Director’s Word that Safety Must Be Certain Before Approval

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today took the opportunity of the Food and Drug Administration Director’s appearance on Capitol Hill to remind the FDA of Alaskans’ deep concerns over genetically-engineered salmon, urging her repeatedly to not approve Frankenfish and to look critically at the wide range of threats it poses.  After Murkowski’s remarks and questioning, the FDA Director committed to her that unless safety can be guaranteed, then approval will not be granted.


(Senator Murkowski shows the “bizarre” gene splicing behind Frankenfish – click for video.)

As the FDA continues to review the application to sell Frankenfish for human consumption – the product of gene splicing between an ocean pout with a Chinook salmon – thousands of Alaskans have spoken out in opposition.  Their concerns range from the upfront worries that the experimental food may not be safe for people to eat, to impacts on Alaska’s vibrant wild seafood industry.  Senator Murkowski asked FDA Director Hamburg:

“I continue to strongly oppose FDA approval of genetically-engineered salmon.  I don’t believe that the FDA has adequately studied the environmental effects, the economic impacts on the salmon and our seafood markets – let alone the health impacts on humans.  So, given the concerns that I have, and many others have, can you assure me that the FDA is prepared to deny approval of the sale of GE salmon to consumers if your agency cannot guarantee it’s safe to eat?”

Dr. Hamburg responded that if the safety could not be proven, then the FDA would not move forward and approve the application.  Murkowski then sought assurance that if the FDA approved Frankenfish, that it would require clear labeling for consumers – a priority she has pushed consistently in the U.S. Senate – but Dr. Hamburg would not clearly answer that question.

Murkowski has been an outspoken opponent of Frankenfish over the years – both for reasons of human health concerns and the economic threat posed to the industry by fears consumers have about genetically-engineered salmon.  She has frequently highlighted:

A more thorough history of Senator Murkowski’s fight can be found by clicking here.