For the second time this year, congressional Republicans have used behind-the-scenes trickery to weaken organic-labeling standards. Powerful Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, tacked a measure onto the recently passed $79 million war-spending bill that directs the U.S. Department of Agriculture to come up with a plan for certifying and labeling wild seafood as organic. Stevens hopes the move will boost sales and prices of salmon and other seafood. “Alaska salmon is as wholesome, if not more, than any other organic product on the market,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), who backed the rider. Organic advocates are crying foul, arguing that the organic label is intended to assure consumers that food products are grown in a chemical-free environment. It’s impossible, they say, to know what wild fish have been eating or whether they’ve been swimming in clean or polluted waters.
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