Costco says it won?t sell genetically modified salmon
Costco said Friday it does not intend to sell genetically modified salmon at this time, joining a list of retailers who say they will not sell genetically modified salmon, despite the approval Thursday by the federal Food and Drug Administration of the sale of such fish.
?Although the FDA has approved the sale of GM salmon, Costco has not sold and does not intend to sell GM salmon at this time,? the warehouse store chain said in a statement Friday.
The?FDA cleared for sale AquAdvantage Salmon, the genetically modified fish that grows twice as fast as normal salmon, saying ?there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.?
AquAdvantage Salmon is engineered by the Massachusetts-based company AquaBounty, which said the fish could be on grocery store shelves in about two years.
The problems with GMO salmon are similar to farm raised ? yet they take things even further.
For starters, the FDA has said that the GMO salmon is just as nutritious to eat as non-GMO, farmed fish. That would be great if farmed fish were a healthy option. In reality, farmed fish is much less nutritionally dense than wild-caught salmon. In a wild-caught salmon vs. farmed salmon?face-off, wild is clearly the winner.
Wild salmon is lower in calories and has half the fat of farmed salmon. Despite its leaner body, however, wild-caught salmon nutrition includes being?packed with more calcium, iron, protein and potassium. And while farm-raised salmon has slightly higher omega-3 fatty acids, the good type of fat that fish is lauded for, it?s believed that the quality just isn?t up to par.
Farmed fish do come with something a little extra: contaminants, pesticides and other chemicals. For instance, a type of cancer-causing pesticide, polychlorinated biphenyls, exists in farm-raised salmon at 16 times the rate of wild salmon.
And researchers have found a chemical used as a flame retardant at levels 11 times higher than wild-caught fish. So when the FDA says that GMO salmon is just as healthy as farmed fish? Well, that?s not really something to cheer about.
Another threat with GMO salmon is its environmental impact. While the fish are supposed to be raised in fish tanks in warehouses on land ? probably not how nature intended fish to be raised for food ? environmental groups are concerned about what might happen if these GMO salmon managed to escape into the wild.
This could disrupt natural ecosystems, while also competing with ?wild fish for food and homes. The fear isn?t unfounded, as millions of farm-raised salmon escape from the holes in their nets each year.
The real kicker, however, is that even if you don?t want to purchase GMO salmon, you might do so unwillingly. That?s because the FDA will allow the fish to be sold without any label, the way foods made from GMO crops are currently not required to be labeled. It will become increasingly more difficult to avoid feeding GMO foods to your family.
Originally Published in part: The Seattle Times