Supermarket chains across the country have pledged that they will not stock their freezers with the first animal that has been modified genetically for market consumption – a salmon that matures at double the rate of the non-modified species. Some of the chains include Aldi, Trader Joe’s, as well as Whole Foods Market, which have suggested that they will not distribute AquAdvantage (the salmon) in their stores.
Aldi stated in a press release that the modified species is not included in the definition of sustainable seafood. Their spokeswoman however, said that the policy could be modified with the passing of time and declined to discuss the issue further. The GMO Salmon is on the approval list of the FDA, and had been declared environmentally friendly by the agency. Their support behind the species was also seen when it was approved for human consumption. With the current labelling regulations that are in place, if the salmon gets the approval of the agency it wouldn’t be specifically stated on its label that it has been scientifically engineered.
Environmental groups and watchdogs say that the salmon would not be received well in the market, especially if there was a clear distinction between the genetically modified species and conventional salmon. The same groups had also distributed letters earlier to stores and supermarket chains urging them not to accept the modified salmon. There are over 36,500 stores across the country and although only 2000 of the stores have pledged against the salmon, the groups are assured that more stores will sign on in the campaign.
CEO of Aquabounty, the company that engineered the salmon, acknowledged that the retail stores reserve the right to choose what products to sell in their establishment, but would be thoroughly disappointed nonetheless. He also hoped that their product would get the chance to receive a fair judgement from the public since the salmon is both healthy and safe.