The FDA approved AquaBounty’s GMO salmon this week, after months and years of contentious opposition from consumer advocate and food safety groups. This is the first genetically engineered animal to be sold for food in the United States. The problems with this product range from “lost” eggs and fish to violation of environmental regulations and missing permits.
But this week the third largest retailer in the U.S., Costco Wholesale, announced that it will not sell the fish, according to Center for Food Safety. They join more than 60 other supermarket chains, including Kroger, Safeway, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods that will not sell the GMO salmon. Red Lobster last week also rejected the salmon. Walmart and Public are the largest retail chains that have not rejected the salmon.
Dana Perls, food and technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth, said in a statement, “the market is rejecting GMO salmon. Stores won’t sell it and people don’t want to eat it. Now other retailers like Walmart and restaurants need to follow suit, and we need mandatory GMO labeling so that consumers know how to avoid GMO salmon.”
The engineered salmon is not going to be labeled, and will most likely be marketed as “Atlantic Salmon”, even though the experimental production facility is in Panama. They are also grown in “contained” land based systems.
According to Friends of the Earth, 75% of Americans surveyed in a New York Times poll said they would not eat genetically engineered fish. More than 90% said they wanted GMO foods to be labeled.
Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch said in a statement, “this is just the latest evidence that there is no demand for GMO salmon. At every step of the food chain, from producers to retailers, there is no demand for this unsustainable and unnecessary new genetically engineered food.”
Perls continued, “people have a right to know if the fish they are eating and feeding their children is genetically engineered with the DNA of an eel-like ocean pout to continuously pump out growth hormones. Friends of the Earth will be closely monitoring the market. In the absence of labeling, we will continue to push retailers to not sell this risky fish and plan to test salmon and notify consumers directly if stores attempt to hide GMO salmon under false marketing.”