Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi Among Stores Pledging To Not Sell Genetically Engineered Seafood

With the FDA looking like it’s about to approve one company’s genetically engineered salmon, some of the nation’s larger grocery store chains have pledged to not sell any form of genetically engineered seafood if/when it’s available to consumers.

According to the newly launched Campaign for Genetically Engineered-Free Seafood, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and Whole Foods are among those businesses that have either signed a pledge or have policies in place to prohibit the sale of GE fish and other seafood. In all, the retailers who won’t have these controversial products on their stores represent more than 2,000 outlets around the country.

“Consumers Union has serious concerns about the safety of the first genetically engineered fish, a salmon engineered to grow to maturity twice as fast as wild salmon,” said Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with Consumers Union. “FDA decided based on data from just six fish that there was no increased risk to people with fish allergies. However, even these meager data suggest that these fish show increased allergic potential.”

Per the results of a 2010 poll, 91% of American consumers oppose the sale of GE seafood. And yet the FDA has previously stated it will likely not label genetically engineered salmon, meaning these consumers who don’t want to buy GE will have no idea whether or not the fish they buy is genetically engineered.

The issue will only get more complicated, with at least 35 other species of genetically engineered fish currently under development, not to mention the precedent FDA approval could set, possibly allowing for the sale of GE livestock.

“Simply put, this genetically engineered fish is unnecessary and is a problem masquerading as a solution,” said Heather Whitehead, online campaigns director at Center for Food Safety. “We’re excited to see that grocery retailers agree that there is no need to introduce an unnecessary, unpopular and risky new technology to the marketplace without adequate assessment, posing risks to human health, the environment, wild salmon, and the sustainable fishing industry.”