A New Method Against Genetically Modified Salmon: Get Retailers to Refuse to Sell It
By Brady Dennis
The Washington Post, October 18, 2013
Straight to the Source
Consumer and environmental activists, facing likely defeat in their bid
to block government approval of the first genetically engineered salmon,
are trying a different tack to keep the fish off America's dinner
plates: Getting retailers not to sell it.
And they're making headway.
Some of the nation's most recognizable chains - including Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Target
- have agreed in recent months to steer clear of the fish. A
spokeswoman for Safeway, the nation's second-largest grocery chain, said
the chain doesn't have "any plans to carry GE salmon." Activists are
pressing Kroger, the country's largest grocer, to make a similar
"The goal is to make sure there is not an available market for
genetically engineered seafood," said Dana Perls, food and technology
campaigner at Friends of the Earth, an international network of
environmental organizations helping to lead the effort to make the fish
unwelcome. "People don't want it, and markets are going to follow what
The Food and Drug Administration, which has been reviewing the
genetically modified salmon for years, has strongly signaled it intends
to approve the fish, making it the first genetically modified animal
cleared for human consumption. The decision, which could come this fall,
would be a milestone not only for the decades-long fish controversy but
also for the heated debate over the development and marketing of other genetically modified foods.
AquaBounty Technologies, based in Massachusetts, first applied for
permission to sell its genetically altered salmon in 1995. Its
AquAdvantage salmon consists of an Atlantic salmon containing a growth
hormone from a Chinook salmon and a gene from the ocean pout, an
eel-like fish. The result: A fish that grows to market size in about
half the time as regular salmon.