Murkowski: GMO labeling bill inadequate for salmon buyers

The U.S. Senate Thursday passed a bill that is said to require consumer labeling of genetically modified foods, but opponents say it is too weak to be called a requirement. Alaska U.S Sen. Lisa Murkowski said the legislation would not obligate the makers of genetically engineered salmon to clearly distinguish their product from a natural salmon.

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“The reality is we will not see the labeling that I, as an Alaskan, who is putting fish on the

Sen. Lisa Murkowski addresses a joint session of the Legislature on Feb. 17 (Photo: Skip Gray/KTOO
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (File photo: Skip Gray/360 North)

dinner table for my family, would require and would want,” Murkowski said.

The bill would allow GMO food manufacturers to satisfy the mandate by placing a QR code on their labels. To get information, a consumer would scan the code with a smart phone, which would lead to a web page. The legislation was sponsored by farm-state lawmakers. If it becomes law, it would pre-empt states from enforcing their own GMO labeling mandates and block an Alaska law requiring labels for engineered salmon.

The measure passed by a vote of 63-30, with both Alaska senators voting no. It now goes to the House.