World’s second largest retailer is now part of the group of 60 American retailers that refuse selling laboratory fish. Federal Drug Administration approved last week that the first GMO animal to be consumed and sold nationwide. Costco, following the steps of Wallmart, claimed that, so far, it hasn’t sold GMO salmon and doesn’t intend to do it in the future.
3 months ago, 18,000 people sent letters to Costco urging it to forgo selling the salmon produced by AcquaBounty Technology. This June, Costco customers, fishers, and the Community Alliance for Global Justice, forming a coalition, rallied outside the company’s state headquarters in Washington and presented 300,000 petition signatures from organizations worldwide. Then, Costco, as a response to the petition, said that it didn’t intend to sell GMO salmon and joined the chain of retailers including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, and Kroger in the promise not to sell GMO fish.
Heather Day, the executive director of Community Alliance for Global Justice in Seattle, said that salmon is extremely important for our economy, diets, and cultural heritage to accept something produced in a lab.
Because the government does not require food containing GMO to be labeled, then the GMO salmon will not be labeled as such. So, the FDA, in its approval of AquAdvantage highlighted that it won’t be needed to be designated as a GMO product. Instead, Ron, Stotish, the AquaBounty CEO, explained to Washington Post that the fish would be more likely marketed as Atlantic salmon. The fish contains an added gene, that is classified by the FDA as a drug, and which makes the fish to grow more rapidly.
Despite the fact that there’s no evidence eating GMO salmon presents a health risk, the whole population is concerned about the detrimental side effects on the humans it might provoke. The limited criteria require salmon to be raised in one of two aquaculture systems (land-based) either in Panama or in Canada.
Walmart is considered to be the only huge grocery chain that has yet to weigh in on the controversial salmon. If it were to reject the product then that would mean 5000 less stores across the country were this fish could be sold.