It goes without saying that salmon is one of the most popular types of seafood. In fact, according to the National Fisheries Institute, it’s the third most-consumed variety with 2.02 pounds eaten by the average person each year. But does anyone actually want to eat the pink-fleshed fish when it’s been bioengineered to grow at twice the normal rate?
Biotech firm AquaBounty doesn’t find that growth rate unappetizing and even boasts about it on its own website. Their salmon, deemed by the Massachusetts-based company as the “future of salmon,” is actually a hybrid that’s also part trout and part tilapia. The “salmon” are raised in sterile, all-female populations so if one escapes, it can’t breed with other fish. But the scariest part? This Frankenfish is actually pending approval by the FDA. And if it’s approved, this seafood could end up on your plate. Worse yet, it might not even be labeled so you’ll have no idea you’re eating it.
While AquaBounty says their fish helps reduce labor and production costs and is safe for the environment, we’re assuming you also feel a little uneasy about this, too. (Watch the short video above to learn more about why you shouldn’t eat GMO — genetically modified organism — salmon and why it’s harmful to the planet.) According to environmental organization Friends of the Earth, nearly two million people, including scientists, politicians and consumers have pressed the FDA to oppose GMO salmon.
But no matter what the FDA decides, more and more of America’s grocery stores are taking a stance against GMO seafood and removing it from their shelves, which means you might not even be able to buy it. The latest supermarkets to take a stand — Safeway and Kroger — are the country’s biggest grocery store chains to make a commitment to not to sell genetically engineered seafood. (In total, they have more than 9,000 stores nationwide.) About 60 other major food retailers such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and even big-box stores like Target, have also joined the cause. Of course, you’ll notice other big grocery chains such as Costco, Walmart and Albertsons conspicuously missing from this list, so there’s still work to be done. But if the country’s two largest grocery stores can say no to GMO, hopefully the others won’t be too far behind.