Mandate to label GE salmon in appropriations bill

An appropriations bill now before the full Senate contains a labeling mandate for genetically engineered salmon, recommendations for nutritional advice on seafood, assistance for Alaska’s farmers and support for critical food assistance programs.

These are provisions that would protect American consumers and support Alaska’s vital fishing industry, said Se. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, and a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, which unanimously approved the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Fiscal year 2017 appropriations bill.

Murkowski, like former Sen. Mark Begich, D-Alaska, has been advocating for several years against the introduction of genetically engineered fish into retail markets in the U.S., particularly AquAdvantage Salmon, the AquaBounty Technologies product created from Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon and Arctic ocean eelpout.

The Canadian government recently approved the product, which is not yet ready for sale, for commercial sale in Canada.

Murkowski said the genetically engineered fish poses a serious threat to the livelihoods of fishermen and the health and well-being of Americans.

“Alaska is known around the world for our sustainably-caught, wild, delicious seafood,” Murkowski said in a recent statement. “Requiring labeling of genetically engineered salmon helps us to maintain Alaska’s gold standard reputation for years to come, and protects consumers.”

The Alaska Republican said she thanked her colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee for recognizing the importance of making sure people know what they are buying for their dinner table. “I am certainly not going to serve it to my family, because I don’t think we should experiment with food safety and food security,” she said.