While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is still busy working on approval for genetically modified salmon, another two store chains put their names on the list of places that will refuse to sell it. Kroger and Safeway, the largest retail grocery companies in the United States, have made the commitment to keep GMO salmon off of their shelves, a commitment being made by more than 9,000 stores nationwide.
Friends of the Earth is using the move to put the pressure on other grocery chains. “By making commitments to not sell genetically engineered salmon, Kroger and Safeway have joined the large number of grocery chains, from Trader Joe’s to Target, that have wisely chosen to listen to the majority of consumers who do not want to eat genetically engineered fish,” said Dana Perls, Food and technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth. “Now Costco, Walmart, Albertsons and other retailers need to catch up and provide their customers with what they want: natural, sustainable seafood that isn’t genetically engineered in a lab.”
It’s not just businesses that have taken a stand against the genetically engineered fish, called AquaAdvantage salmon. According to FOE, “nearly 2 million people — including scientists, fishermen, business owners, and consumers — have written to the FDA opposing the approval of genetically engineered salmon…”
The GMO salmon contains a growth gene from Chinook salmon that essentially makes the fish grow twice as fast. The FDA did a preliminary study which holds that the genetically engineered salmon would not have a significant impact on the environment (though some scientists disagree). In a New York Times poll, however, 75% of people polled said that they would not eat GMO fish.
But despite the public outcry, the FDA is still considering approval, and if it is in fact approved, has said the genetically engineered fish will most likely not be labeled. Salmon isn’t the only species going from fish to frankenfish. At least 35 other species of genetically engineered fish are currently under development and opposers highlight that this first “transgenic” animal in our food supply could set a precedent for many more.
Photo Credit: Sharon Mollerus