Dear Chairman Shelby, Chairwoman Lowey, Vice Chairman Leahy, and Ranking Member Granger:
As you continue your work on FY 2020 appropriations legislation, we strongly urge you to oppose the inclusion of any provisions related to genetically engineered salmon. Previous appropriations riders on this subject short-circuited the regulatory process to effectively ban the commercialization of an FDA-approved product, resulting in a number of negative effects. First, such riders cast a chilling effect on innovation, potentially hindering development of other products in the research and development pipeline that have the ability to address challenges in agriculture. At the same time, these provisions conflicted with federal food disclosure law and called into question the existing science-based regulatory system that Congress can circumvent and undermine. Provisions like these have great potential to cost jobs, harm small businesses, and undermine regulatory certainty.
Of equal if not greater concern, the previous provision created uncertainty regarding the broader disclosure of bioengineered food ingredients. Recent actions by FDA and USDA have ensured this product is consistently disclosed for consumer awareness under the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Law (the “Disclosure Act”), thus resolving the issue. We would urge Congress not to reopen this matter.