59 Supermarkets Say No to Frankenfish

Just as Monsanto announces that it has given up trying to spread genetically modified seeds and plants throughout Europe (which is a huge win for opponents of genetic engineering), along comes another exciting victory.

Target, along with many other big supermarket chains, has pledged not to stock genetically engineered (GE) salmon in its stores.

A total of 59 retailers have announced that they will not stock GE fish. Along with Target come H-E-B chain (315 stores in Texas), Giant Eagle (387 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland) and Meijer (200 stores in the Rust Belt).

Earlier this year several other major retailers,  including Whole Foods, Trader Joes and Aldi, as well as some smaller grocery sellers, promised that no GE salmon would be sold in their stores.  That makes a whopping total of 4,662 stores around the U.S.

Why Was Frankenfish Created?

AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the “AquAdvantage” salmon by injecting a gene from an ocean pout fish (a type of eel) along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilized Atlantic salmon egg.  These two extra genes make the fish grow twice as fast as normal Atlantic salmon, cutting the time to reach market weight almost in half. It also creates a fish that produces growth hormone year round, not just in warm weather.

This could mean cost savings for fish farmers, leading to higher profits for the salmon farming industry.

No big surprise here: it’s all about making twice as much money, in half the time.

Oh, and the fish is also abnormally large, about twice the size of its non-engineered cousin.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) first announced that it was considering the approval of a GE salmon in August 2010. April 26, 2013, marked the close of a 60-day comment period on a revised draft environmental assessment for the GE fish. By that time over 1.8 million people had sent comments vehemently expressing their disapproval.

In spite of this outpouring of opposition, the FDA is expected to approve the first-ever GE animal permitted to enter the U.S. food supply.

What Could Go Wrong?

Most Americans say they won’t eat GE fish and 91 percent want the FDA to disallow it on the market.

Since these fish are significantly altered from the non-genetically modified salmon, the concern is that there could be health problems associated with eating it.

But the FDA doesn’t care: GE foods have never been safety tested by the FDA, thanks to a 20-year-old policy that says it’s up to the biotech companies to determine the safety of GE foods. Right – they create these foods and conduct tests to prove they are safe. Now we all feel better, I’m sure.

And The Daily Mail adds:

Opponents of the ‘Frankenfish’ technology warn it could escape and interbreed with wild fish, undermining the genetics of the already-endangered Atlantic salmon – known as the ‘king of fishes’.

They also argue that commercial production of the salmon could be beginning of concerted efforts to concoct other GM animals for human consumption, raising concerns about animal welfare and human health.

FDA Refuses To Label GE Foods

If the FDA isn’t going to test GE foods for safety, at least they could require labeling, allowing consumers to avoid them if they want. But so far, the FDA has rejected labeling under the controversial argument that GE foods are “substantially equivalent” to their non-genetically engineered counterparts.

So how can consumers choose not to eat GE salmon if it isn’t even labeled? We’ll just have to trust those 59 supermarket chains that have announced they will not stock this scary product.

Target and the other retailers who pledged to not sell GE salmon obviously took their consumer’s wishes into consideration when making this decision. If you believe we must continue to speak up and be heard on this issue, please sign our petition calling on Congress to label all genetically engineered food.


Photo Credit: thinkstock


Jim Ven
Jim Venabout a year ago

thanks for sharing.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

Luciana Rzegocki
Luciana Rzegocki4 years ago

While I appreciate the story, I don't appreciate the rust belt remark. The author lives in the lovely Bay Area (where my daughter also lives). I live in a lovely green, heavily treed state, lots of farms and orchards but with no rust in sight.

Mark D.
Mark D.4 years ago

What a lot of the public doesn't understand is that although it may be only a few percent of a population, that still means there is a significant number of people are stark raving psychotic monsters and whose whole purpose is to destroy others, in their minds they are busy calculating these destructive things all the time. Those people although they're in terror of everybody are still able to put on a front so they get into politics and run corporations. The managers of companies like AquaBounty and Monsanto, oil and coal companies, chemical companies are criminals on that level. These psychotic criminals are beyond rehabilitation, they are the enemy of everyone and they will kill you and they will kill the earth without a hint of conscience.

Deborah L.
Deborah k4 years ago

Too late as several of these altered salmon jumped the nets separating them from the ocean. I say it on a documentary on one of those scientific TV shows about GMO's a little over 2 years ago. They were uncertain if these fish would interbreed, but more concern was placed on the fact these fish are more aggressive and that the GMO salmon would threaten the survival of other fish species.

As to the stores not stocking GMO and GE salmon, they could still be stocking them and not know it. Do you really think that after all the money spent into creating these monster fish that the corporations are going to take a hit on this ? They will find a way to put them out to the unsuspecting customers across America. After all greed and the shareholders come first, then the corrupt politicians who will oversee and assure that their bosses(rich and big corporations) don't loose so much a 1 penny over these issue.

Ernie Miller
william Miller4 years ago


Patricia G.
Patricia Gal4 years ago

The sound of Frankenfish is about as bad sounding to that other slop fish they tried to pass off years ago called MonkFish.....they claimed that tasted like lobster......It tasted more like MUSH. ewwwww.

Nooooo to the Frankenfish.

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M M4 years ago

Vegan here!
Thanks for the article.

greenplanet e.
greenplanet e4 years ago

Good. Who wants Frankenfish?

Val M.
Val M4 years ago