Alaska Editorial: The right to know

  • Wednesday, March 23, 2016 1:03am
  • Opinion

The following editorial first appeared in the Ketchikan Daily News:

It’s ludicrous to ban Alaska and other states from issuing mandatory labeling laws.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski has worked tirelessly against allowing genetically engineered salmon on the market. But if it is allowed, she argues that the GE salmon should be labeled as such for the benefit of the buyer.

Unless someone is trying to fool the buyer into thinking a piece of GE salmon is something that it isn’t, then there is no reason not to label it. If the intent is to fool and imply that GE salmon is really the wild variety, then Congress shouldn’t be an accomplice in pulling the wool over buyers’ eyes.

Congress is considering the Biotechnology Labeling Solutions Act. Murkowski voted against it.

The act would make it illegal for states to issue mandatory labeling laws for food containing genetically modified organisms. Alaska passed such a law in regard to GE salmon.

Not only does banning mandatory labeling laws smell like rotten fish when it comes to states’ rights, it is a threat to wild varieties, the fishing industry and Alaska’s economy. And Alaska isn’t alone.

Additionally, seafood consumers should be informed about the source of what they eat. Consumers have rights, too. It isn’t just the peddlers of GE salmon and other producers of genetically modified organisms, not to mention their lobbyists, who have rights.

Congress is supposed to be representing the best interests of the people. It is in the best interests of the people to be informed. Labeling accomplishes that.

Congress should sink the Biotech Labeling Solutions Act — rightly known in some quarters as the “Deny Americans the Right to Know Act” — as soon as possible.

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