GE salmon labeling bill requires third-party review

  • By DJ SUMMERS
  • Monday, March 7, 2016 10:54pm
  • News

Sen. Lisa Murkowski introduced a bill on March 3 that would require all genetically engineered salmon to carry the words “genetically engineered” or “GE.” The bill’s language resulted from discussions between Murkowski and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, strengthening earlier FDA language that made the labeling voluntary rather than mandatory.

Beyond labeling requirements, the bill would also require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to mandate a third party review of the previous FDA decision that declared AquAdvantage salmon fit for human consumption. The third party review would focus on ecological effects as well as human consumptive safety.

Rep. Don Young introduced a companion House bill.

Murkowski said in a press release that she still denies the scientific basis of the FDA’s approval of the AquAdvantage salmon — which grows at twice the rate of wild salmon, Alaska’s most valuable foreign export.

“We have had success in the fight against Frankenfish, but I won’t let up until it is mandatory to make clear to consumers whether they are purchasing Frankenfish or the wild, healthy, sustainably-caught, delicious real thing,” said Murkowski in the release. “I still adamantly oppose the FDA’s approval of GE salmon, for the health of both consumers and fisheries. But at least with this legislation, Alaskans and consumers across the rest of the country won’t be deceived and will be aware of what it is they are seeing on store shelves.”

Cosponsored by Sens. Dan Sullivan and Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Murkowski’s bill could end the drawn-out squabble between Pacific Northwest lawmakers and the FDA.

Murkowski recently lifted a nomination hold on Dr. Richard Califf as FDA chief, having held his nomination until the FDA mandated labeling requirements.

At the time, Murkowski said she’d been working with the FDA to come up with a stronger labeling requirement.

Last year’s omnibus package ordered the FDA to ban the genetically engineered salmon from the U.S. market until the FDA publishes final labeling guidelines.

The FDA legal department, however, said the omnibus language wasn’t strong enough to fulfill Murkowski’s intent of mandatory labeling. The FDA, as a show of good faith, worked with Murkowski’s office to provide them the language that would force mandatory labeling, culminating in the March 3 bill.

The FDA approved genetically engineered salmon — manufactured by the Canadian company AquaBounty — for human consumption in 2015. Alaska politicians doubt the science and fear the economic consequences. Alaska fishermen’s wild-caught sockeye will have to compete with genetically altered fish, which splice salmon and ocean pout genes to grow at twice the rate of wild salmon.

DJ Summers can be reached at daniel.summers@alaskajournal.com.

More in News

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Nurse Tracy Silta draws a dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at the walk-in clinic at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling Highways in Soldotna, Alaska on Wednesday, June 9, 2021. COVID-19 vaccines for kids younger than 5 years old are now approved by both the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
COVID shots for kids under 5 available at public health

Roughly 18 million kids nationwide will now be eligible to get their COVID vaccines.

Megan Mitchell, left, and Nick McCoy protest the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision overturning of Roe v. Wade at the intersection of the Kenai Spur and Sterling highways on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Heartbroken’, ‘Betrayed’: Alaskans react to Roe decision

Supreme Court decision ends nearly 50 years of legally protected access to abortion

Demonstrators gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Friday, June 24, 2022. The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place nearly 50 years, a decision by its conservative majority to overturn the court’s landmark abortion cases. (AP Photo / Jose Luis Magana)
Alaskans react to Supreme Court overturn of Roe v. Wade

The Supreme Court has ended constitutional protections for abortion.

Tara Sweeney, a Republican seeking the sole U.S. House seat in Alaska, speaks during a forum for candidates, May 12, 2022, in Anchorage, Alaska. (AP Photo/ Mark Thiessen)
Lawsuit says Sweeney should advance in Alaska US House race

The lawsuit says the fifth-place finisher in the special primary, Republican Tara Sweeney, should be put on the August special election ballot

Gubernatorial candidate Bill Walker stands in the Peninsula Clarion office on Friday, May 6, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Alaska AFL-CIO endorses Walker, Murkowski, Peltola

The AFL-CIO is Alaska’s largest labor organization and has historically been one of its most powerful political groups

A portion of a draft letter from Jeffrey Clark is displayed as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Federal agents search Trump-era official’s home, subpoena GOP leaders

Authorities on Wednesday searched the Virginia home of Jeffrey Clark

Most Read