Murkowski’s “Frankenfish” Labeling Provision Passes Committee

Senator: People Should Know What They’re Eating

Senator Lisa Murkowski today successfully convinced her Senate Appropriations Committee colleagues to approve her amendment that would require the labeling of genetically-engineered (GE) salmon if approved for sale to consumers in the United States. This amendment was added to the FY16 Agriculture, Rural Development, and Food and Drug Administration spending bill which passed out of the full Senate Appropriations Committee, and heads to the Senate floor for a final vote.

Senator Murkowski has long been a vocal opponent of GE salmon – or “Frankenfish” – not only due to serious concerns surrounding the science behind gene splicing of two distinct species for human consumption, but also the risks of those creatures disrupting and potentially breeding with wild Alaska salmon—putting the fishing industry at great risk. Murkowski is dead-set against Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of these products and presented her amendment as a safety net for consumers who wish to avoid GE fish if the FDA decides to advance it to market.

Senator Murkowski introduced her amendment, saying:

“Genetically-engineered salmon starts from a transgenic Atlantic salmon egg, which has had genes from an ocean pout (an eel-like fish) combined with the genes of Chinook salmon. It is designed to produce a fish that grows twice the size in half the time. If the FDA moves forward, as it currently is, there would not be a requirement to ensure that people know what it is that they are eating. People need to know whether they are eating a genetically-engineered fish or they are eating a wild Alaskan salmon that we promote so strongly in our state.”

Senator Murkowski addressed the concerns of those who oppose this amendment, saying:

“I’ve heard from my friends in the agriculture sector that they’re concerned that this move might overlay on top of the labeling requirement for crops. I would just remind you—corn does not swim from one field to another and propagate with other corn in another state. Fish move! Fish escape. We’re told these genetically-engineered fish will not mix with our wild, healthy stocks. Yet you can’t assure us that this in fact will be the case.”

Listen to Senator Murkowski introduce her amendment by clicking here.