As the FDA moves closer to approving AquAdvantage salmon, a fish genetically engineered (GE) to grow twice the speed as normal salmon, numerous consumer, health, and fishing groups have continued to express concern regarding the effects of the first GE animal entering the marketplace. Joining together as a coalition, these groups recently launched the “Campaign for Genetically Engineered (GE)-Free Seafood”, in an effort to bring food retailers on board.
Today, the campaign announced that several major grocery retailers, including Whole Foods Market, Trader Joe’s and Aldi’s, have committed to not selling the GE salmon if it is introduced into the marketplace. Over 2,000 stores across the United States are represented.
Why the concern? Despite this new technology, there have been no long-term studies on the safety of eating genetically engineered salmon, nor has the environmental or economic impact of this salmon been adequately evaluated. Most alarming is that these fish, if approved, will be entering the market unlabeled, leaving many consumers in the dark.
As Colin O’Neil from the Center for Food Safety recently wrote in a letter to the editor of the New York Times:
“The Food and Drug Administration is not an expert on fisheries or the environment, and it has failed to consult properly with those who are. The agency’s analysis relies exclusively on company data, including a “study” on allergy risks that involved 18 fish, only 6 of which were the kind bound for consumers.”
Retailers and industry leaders have begun to take strong stances on genetically engineered foods, as shown by Whole Foods recent commitment to label GE products, and the Natural Products Association support for a national GE labeling solution. Will this show of support encourage more to switch their practices?
According to Scott Faber, Executive Director of Organic Voices: “More and more representatives from the food industry are recognizing the importance of labeling GE foods. Every American should have the right to know what is in their food, a right that consumers in 62 other countries already have. We encourage more industry voices to come to the table and support the 90 percent of Americans who want the right to know whether the food they’re eating and feeding their families contains GE ingredients.”
Image via Food and Water Watch