AquaBounty calls out ‘unnecessary’ US Spending Bill rider on GE salmon labeling
By Mari-Len De Guzman
AquaBounty is speaking out against a provision in the recent Fiscal Year 2020 U.S. Spending Bill, that seemingly singled out its company and product, calling the requirement “unnecessary.”
AquaBouty has developed the industry’s first genetically engineered salmon, AquAdvantage. In a statement, the company called out the appropriations rider introduced by Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski, which requires bio-engineered salmon to be labelled “genetically engineered”.
“AquaBounty has always supported clear, transparent labeling of our bioengineered salmon, even before federal disclosure requirements were put in place, and while this new language will finally allow us to commercialize our FDA-approved bioengineered salmon, we believe it is completely unnecessary,” AquaBounty said in a statament.
In defending her push for labelling of genetically engineered salmon, Murkowski said it is “absolutely essential” to inform consumers about the products they are buying.
“I continue to strongly believe that a clear, text-based label is the high standard that American consumers deserve, and I have introduced stand-alone legislation to that effect. We owe it to American consumers to ensure that the standards put in place for labeling GE salmon are clear, effective, and understandable,” a statement posted on Murkowski’s website said.
AquaBounty criticized the legislator for continuing to “single out a small, innovative, American company in a misguided attempt to protect a parochial special interest when, in reality, the rider most benefits Chilean and Norwegian companies that currently export more Atlantic salmon to the U.S. than any American company produces.”
The AquAdvantage salmon producer said it will work with the Food and Drug Administration as well as the US Department of Agriculture to comply with the new mandate.
“Because AquaBounty’s salmon is safe and identical to other farm-raised Atlantic Salmon, this provision sets a dangerous precedent for all bioengineered foods because it was passed as an appropriations rider, yet has nothing to do with funding, and it imposes a mandate that targets a single company and product and calls into question the regulatory process and federal disclosure requirements,” the company said.