Quantcast

Costco and Red Lobster Say No to GMO Salmon

Food

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) controversial approval of AquaBounty's genetically modified (GMO) salmon has garnered further backlash from national grocery stores and restaurant chains.

Costco, the second largest retailer in the world with 487 stores and one of the largest retailers of salmon and seafood in the U.S., has made a firm commitment not to sell GMO salmon.

“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 company said in a statement.

Costco's move to reject GMO salmon comes after vehement opposition from anti-GMO activists.

According to a statement from Friends of the Earth, Walmart and Publix are among the last remaining large retail grocers in the U.S. that have not yet rejected GMO salmon.

“The market is rejecting GMO salmon. Stores won’t sell it and people don’t want to eat it,” said Friends of the Earth Campaigner Dana Perls. “Now other retailers like Walmart and restaurants need to follow suit, and we need mandatory GMO labeling so that consumers know how to avoid GMO salmon.”

More than 60 grocery store chains representing more than 9,000 stores across the U.S. have made commitments to not sell GMO salmon, including Safeway, Kroger, Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Aldi and many others.

The nation's largest seafood restaurant is also denying GMO salmon. Red Lobster, with 705 North American locations and more than 40 internationally, told the Dallas Morning News that it would not sell GMO salmon last Friday.

Incidentally, consumers might not even know they're eating GMO salmon. AquaBounty’s salmon, which is genetically altered to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon, will not require a GMO label under FDA guidelines.

It's unclear if we'll will ever see labels for genetically altered food, period—not just salmon. Currently, the hotly contested Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act—dubbed by opponents as the Denying Americans the Right to Know Act or DARK Actlanguishes in the Senate.

The act, H.R. 1599, which passed the House of Representatives in July, bans states from issuing mandatory labeling laws for foods containing GMOs. The bill gives the FDA the authority to establish national standards and regulations for GMO food. The Department of Agriculture would be granted full discretion over the law's implementation.

Pompeo says his bill is intended to protect GMO foods from state-specific bans, such as Vermont's. Its GMO labeling law will go into effect in July 2016 unless it is preempted by a federal ban.

The Environmental Working Group claims that "anti-labeling lobbyists and legislators are racing to jam a bill through Congress in time to stop Vermont from protecting its citizens’ right to know which foods contain GMOs."

Indeed, as EcoWatch reported last month, powerful food industry organizations have spent millions on litigation and extensive lobbying to block state labeling mandates.

The Hill reported that the Grocery Manufacturers Association is working with Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) and the Senate Agriculture Committee on legislation.

Stabenow said she hopes to have GMO labeling legislation passed by the Senate before the end of the year.

Food advocacy group GMO Free USA alleges that Stabenow is working to include a provision in the bill for a QR code on products to inform consumers about the presence of GMOs.

"No on-the-package labeling but a QR code that requires a smartphone," the group notes in a Facebook post.

Proponents of the QR code argue that it would provide consumers with information on the product without signaling there is anything wrong with it, The Hill reported.

Critics counter that the QR code prohibits consumers without a smartphone and the appropriate app from knowing whether there are GMOs in the product.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Monsanto’s Roundup: The Whole Toxic Enchilada

Food Advocacy Group to Sue FDA Over Controversial Approval of GMO Salmon

Christie Brinkley Slams Monsanto and GMOs, Says ‘We’re Guinea Pigs’

Europe’s Rejection of GMOs Ignites Eco-Farming Revolution

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Opera House is seen with smoke haze which enveloped Sydney Harbor on Dec. 10 in Sydney, Australia. Smoke haze hangs over the city as the New South Wales fire danger risk is raised from 'very high' to 'severe'. James D. Morgan / Getty Images

The brushfires raging through New South Wales have shrouded Australia's largest city in a blanket of smoke that pushed the air quality index 12 times worse than the hazardous threshold, according to the Australia Broadcast Corporation (ABC).

Read More Show Less
People walk across the bridge near Little Raven Court in downtown Denver. Younger Americans increasingly prefer to live in walkable neighborhoods. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post via Getty Images

By David B. Goldstein

Energy efficiency is the cornerstone of any country's plan to fight the climate crisis. It is the cheapest option available, and one that as often as not comes along with other benefits, such as job creation, comfort and compatibility with other key solutions such as renewable energy. This has been recognized by the International Energy Agency (IEA) for at least a decade.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Activists from Extinction Rebellion New York City engaged in nonviolent direct action to confront climate change outside City Hall on April 17, 2019. Erik McGregor / Pacific Press / LightRocket via Getty Images

By Andrea Germanos

Over 500 groups on Monday rolled out an an action plan for the next president's first days of office to address the climate emergency and set the nation on a transformative path towards zero emissions and a just transition in their first days in office.

Read More Show Less
The Ladakh region of India, pictured above, is a part of the Himalayan mountain region of the upper Indus Valley which is the most vulnerable water tower, according to researchers. Suttipong Sutiratanachai / Moment / Getty Images

The drinking water of 1.9 billion people is at risk from the climate crisis and the demand for water is rising, a study published Monday in Nature has found.

Read More Show Less
Jet stream triggered heat waves could threaten food production in several important breadbaskets, including central North America. Carl Wycoff / CC BY 2.0

Researchers have pinpointed a previously underexamined threat to global food production, and they warn it will only get worse as the climate crisis intensifies.

Read More Show Less