While genetically modified salmon might be the first GMO animal to get on diners' plates, major grocery chains are pledging in advance to boycott the genetically modified fish.
Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Aldi have all stated that they will not be carrying the fish, which was raised to grow twice as fast as normal. Marsh Supermarkets (Indiana and Ohio), PCC Natural Markets (Washington), and several co-ops in Minnesota, New York, California, and Kansas has also signed the pledge to ban the fish.
"We won't sell genetically engineered fish because we don’t believe it is sustainable or healthy. It is troubling that the FDA is recommending approval of AquaBounty’s salmon as a ‘new animal drug,’ subjecting these engineered creatures to less rigorous safety standards than food additives. That’s not a credible safety assessment," Trudy Bialic from PCC Natural Markets told anti GMO-salmon group Friends of the Earth.
According to Connecticut-based company AquaBounty, which produces the fish, the salmon are bred to be sterile female, unlikely to escape and crossbreed with wild salmon. And while the FDA has found that the fish has no negative environmental impact (the first step in FDA approval), some aren't convinced that it's a "sustainable seafood" source.
"Our current definition of sustainable seafood specifies the exclusion of genetically modified organisms," an Aldi spokeswoman said. Their policy, she noted, may change over time.
AquaBounty is still waiting for FDA approval; Friends of the Earth notes that the FDA has announced that the GMO salmon would probably not be labeled.