…and thank goodness. The two largest traditional grocers in the U.S., Kroger and Safeway, have both recently announced that they will not be selling any genetically modified salmon, known as “AquAdvantage” salmon. They now join smaller grocery chains like Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, and even Target who had already participated in the ban, making it about 9,000 stores across the nation that refuse to carry the engineered fish.
This new genetically modified salmon supposedly grows at twice the rate as conventionally-raised salmon, and while grocers are still awaiting a final approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the ultimate safeness of the modified fish, the agency has already agreed that it is most likely safe to consume and poses little environmental threat. But this seems to matter not to many grocers who are taking the matter into their own hands and putting down their foot. As a consumer, this restores some of my faith in big businesses. Eating genetically modified anything is scary sounding, and my relationship with fish, which already has enough potential health issues of their own – from mercury levels to offshore radiation from Fukushima, is tenuous enough as it is.
If approved, the “AquAdvantage” salmon will be the first genetically engineered animal approved for humans to eat. Opponents of GMO food have already rallied together to send the FDA over one million letters of protest against “Frankenfish.” The United States currently has no standard labeling system for GMO foods, so if the salmon were to hit grocery store shelves, it would be difficult for the everyday consumer to differentiate between the genetically modified and non-modified salmon. According to 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.”
As a consumer, would you buy genetically modified salmon? Why or why not?