The biotechnology firm AquaBounty has spent years working on a genetically enhanced salmon that grows faster and bigger. USA Today reported the company has spent more than $67 million since 1991 trying to get this Chinook salmon spliced with DNA from a fast growing eel-like fish to market.
Eating genetically engineered (GE) food is pretty ubiquitous these days, but as we've previously reported, this "frankenfish" would be the first GE altered animal allowed for human consumption. If that doesn't sound appetizing, maybe you're thinking, well, I just won't eat that. Here's the problem, though: You won't know it, because federal law doesn't mandate GE fish to be labeled as such.
With the FDA expected to officially greenlight the fish after the April 26 public comment period ends, retailers are the last line of defense. The Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood announced that Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Aldi have all vowed to keep the fish out of their stores.
Just Label It, a group committed to proper labeling of food, points to the lack of a long-term study on the safety of eating GE salmon and their potential environmental impact.
The Mud Flats, "News and Politics from the Upper Left Corner" (Alaska) gives a more meaningful local business view of the issue. Jeanne Devon recently wrote:
"The good news is there's actually an issue that Alaskans agree on -- Red ones, Blue ones, and Tea-colored ones. And it is this: Tinkering with the genetic code of life, creating an animal that has never existed in nature, not telling people what it is, and selling it in direct competition with Alaska's wild salmon is a really, really bad idea."
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Eric Hoffman, food & technology policy campaigner with Friends of the Earth, is now calling on other major retailers like Walmart, Costco and Safeway to follow suit and also refuse to sell the fish.
Can you imagine the $67 million fit that will be thrown in a conference room at AquaBounty if Walmart and Costco flush their fish down the drain? People would buy tickets to watch that.
Jon at TJ's comments in 3, 2, 1 ...
OK, I'll do it for him: Buy your fish from businesses that can tell you exactly how long ago your fish was swimming in the water and which flight it came in on. Naturally, they'll also be able to tell you if it's a natural fish or a lab-created marriage of an eel-like fish and salmon.