Press Releases

Jaime Herrera Beutler Introduces Legislation to Prevent Misleading Seafood Labeling

Southwest Washington consumers and businesses are misled, harmed when 4 out of 10 “Alaska Pollock” are actually caught in Russian waters

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Washington, DC, October 22, 2015 | comments
Today, Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation to change the market name of “Alaska pollock” to “pollock.”
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Today, Representatives Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA) and Don Young (R-AK) introduced bipartisan legislation to change the market name of “Alaska pollock” to “pollock.” This amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is necessary to eliminate confusion for consumers, and to stem the flood of mislabeled fish from less sustainable fisheries that harms U.S. pollock fishermen and the businesses they support.   

Under current FDA labeling standards, pollock caught in any part of the world can be labeled as “Alaska pollock.” Approximately 40% of the fish labeled “Alaska pollock” available to American consumers is caught in the Russian pollock fishery. 

“Americans want to know where their food is coming from. This bill will give American consumers more transparency by closing this FDA loophole that allows Russian pollock from Chinese processors to flood our markets under the label ‘Alaska pollock,’” said Jaime. “If a mom in Vancouver wants to purchase fish caught sustainably and packaged truthfully, she should have that choice. With this legislative fix, we’re also ensuring that pollock fishing and processing businesses located in Southwest Washington and throughout the U.S. aren’t having to compete with deceptively labeled products from far less sustainable fisheries.”

“The U.S. fishing industry and the American consumer deserve this commonsense change to the pollock name,” said Congressman Don Young. “There’s no reason why foreign caught pollock should be disguised as Alaskan, especially given the significant management efforts we’ve taken in the North Pacific to create the most sustainable fishery in the world. No other nation can replicate the quality and care we put into Alaskan seafood and the FDA’s labeling standards should reflect that. Unfortunately, an Act of Congress is the only immediate way to keep foreign caught pollock from degrading our U.S. seafood markets.”

A consumer survey conducted by GMA Research revealed that:

·         77% of participants said that if they saw seafood labeled as “Alaska Pollock,” they would think the sea food is harvested in Alaska.

·         81% of participants said they would feel misled if they purchased seafood labeled as “Alaska pollock” and found out it was harvested from somewhere else.

The Alaska pollock fishery is the nation's largest food fishery in the United States, producing 1.3 million tons annually and accounting for 11 percent of American fresh and frozen fish intake. The Alaskan pollock fishery is carefully managed for sustainability, safety and environmental impact.

The companion bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK).

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