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Several major grocery chains just announced  pledge to their customers that they will not carry AquaBounty’s controversial genetically modified “Frankenfish GMO” salmon, regardless of what the Food and Drug Administration decides. This marks the first organized pledge not to carry GMO seafood made by a group of grocers.That group includes Trader Joe’s, sister company Aldi, Whole Foods, and regional chains Marsh Supermarkets (with stores in Indiana and Ohio) and PCC Natural Markets in Washington state, and co-ops in Minnesota, New York, California, and Kansas. They all signed the “Campaign for Genetically Engineered (GE)- Free Seafood” and represent over 2,000 individual stores, with more likely to join in. Consumer and environmental groups leading the Campaign (Friends of the Earth, Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Consumers Union…) are in talks with other grocery stores, but also seafood restaurants and chefs, seeking pledges to carry only non-genetically modified seafood.

This genetically engineered salmon, developed by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies, has been seeking FDA approval for years. The Atlantic salmon is genetically altered with a growth-hormone gene taken from a Chinook salmon, and a genetic “on-switch” from an ocean pout, which allows the salmon to continue making growth hormones during cold weather.

In December, the FDA released its draft environmental assessment concluding the GMO salmon would have “no significant impact” on the environment, and was as safe for consumers to eat as traditional farmed-raised salmon. Do note that if FDA approves it, that salmon will be sold without a GMO label so consumers will not know if the salmon they buy is genetically modified or not. Not everyone agrees with this and with retailers stating their refusal to buy the fish, then a possible FDA approval would not make or break the outcome for us consumers.

According to the Center for Food Safety, at least 35 other species of GE fish are currently being developed around the world, including trout, catfish, tilapia, striped bass, flounder, and many species of salmon. GMO labeling is a hot topic well beyond seafood, and is currently being debated in states across the U.S..

Read this Green News by La Vie en Green from 1/22/2013 when the story was first reported for more information about the FDA treatment of GMO salmon as it reviews the subject.

Check out the full article at: http://www.takepart.com/article/2013/03/20/grocers-say-no-gmo-salmon

Credit photo: luoman/Getty

 

La Vie En Green, food stamp

* Up for some thought-sharing on this topic?  

– The fact that there is no GMO labeling laws nationwide is of concern. And with Prop 37, a GMO labeling proposition of law in California, failing last November, that set a negative precedent.

– Most of us are now getting familiar with the concept of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO, mostly regarding crops such as corn, soybean, cottonseeds. But making a Genetically Engineered fish (a living being, so to speak), is above and beyond what one can possibly imagine. Yet it is happening, and so close to be approved by the FDA.

– To each his or her own opinion, but it would seem reasonable that we also implement to each his or her own taste. And in order to make that applicable, one should be able to know what is for sale, so one CAN decide the type of foods, or seafood one wants to buy… and eat. Fair enough?

– We may not talk about GMO products widely enough and it seems there is still a lot of work with updating consumers on the origins of what they are buying and consuming.

– If Frankenfish gets FDA approved and out in the world, the freedom of choosing what we want to buy and eat (not just salmon, but seafood in general) seems compromised forever.  Nature being nature (sometimes hard to track and to predict), it seems hard to believe than a GE gene would (could) be contained to a very specific species, without affecting any other ones…

. Do you think it would be money well spent by all the anti-GMO organizations to widen their reach and get to the average consumers, currently more worried about making ends meet than figuring out where/what and how the cereals they are buying are from/made of/produced ?

. Should not there be, and how could we start a federal/national initiative to create a countrywide debate about GMO, and then GMO labeling, corn, fish and all that is next to come? That way, maybe, most US citizens will hear about it before important decisions are made without their voice counted in?

. Do you believe it is possible to contain GE fish to specific species and places, or do you believe that once the GE  gene “seed” is out, all other species will be, one way or another, affected too?

Let us know… 

 

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