‘We have the right to know what we’re eating’
WASHINGTON D.C.—U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) today reintroduced the Genetically Engineered Salmon Labeling Act, continuing her years-long fight to ensure that any salmon that is genetically engineered be clearly labeled. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Specifically, the legislation ensures that any GE salmon products in the U.S. market are clearly labeled “genetically engineered” in the market name. Last month, USDA published labeling guidelines for genetically engineered foods, including GE salmon, with weak requirements that could confuse consumers —potentially paving a way for GE salmon to enter the U.S. market without clear labels.
“USDA’s new guidelines don’t require mandatory labeling, and instead allows producers to use QR codes or 1-800 numbers, which is a far stretch from giving consumers clear information. There’s a huge difference between genetically engineered salmon and the healthy, sustainably-caught, wild Alaskan salmon. My legislation will ensure that consumers have all the facts, allowing them to make more informed decisions when they purchase salmon,” said Senator Murkowski. “We have the right to know what we’re eating. When you splice DNA from another animal and combine it with farmed salmon, you are essentially creating a new species and I have serious concerns with that. If we are going to allow this fabricated fish to be sold in stores, we must ensure there is at least clear labeling. Americans should not become test subjects for this new product without their full knowledge and consent.”
- 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.
- July 2017: Senator Murkowski introduced legislation to mandate the labeling of genetically engineered salmon.