The First GMO Salmon Is Hitting the Market
Here's where it's being sold.
Genetically modified salmon has hit Canadian grocery store shelves. It's the first time a GMO seafood (or animal, for that matter) has been made available to the public. So far, consumers have bought five tons of the fish, but they may not be aware of its GMO status.
U.S. AquaBounty Technologies produces the Atlantic salmon, a hybrid breed that combines genes from Chinook salmon and ocean pout and that grows twice as fast as conventionally farmed salmon, CNBC reports. That means it reaches adulthood in 18 months instead of 30, and, AquaBounty claims, eats up to 25 percent less food per gram of flesh to grow that size.
The salmon is being sold at various grocery stores throughout Canada for US$5.30 per pound.
But according to The Guardian, many activist groups are in an uproar over the salmon sales. With no mandatory labeling requirements in the country, many Canadian consumers may not have been aware they were purchasing GMO salmon rather than conventionally farmed salmon, they say. And AquaBounty hasn't released which stores have stocked its salmon.
"The first genetically modified animals have arrived in the market and Canadian consumers are becoming, unwittingly, the first guinea pigs," Thibault Rehn, a coordinator with the Montreal-based environmentalist group GMO Vigilance, wrote on the group's website.
But AquaBounty seems unfazed. In a statement released Friday, chief executive Ronald Stotish said, "the sale and discussions with potential buyers clearly demonstrate customers want our fish, and we look forward to increasing our production capacity to meet demand."
AquaBounty's GMO salmon cannot yet be sold in the U.S. While the product was approved by the FDA in 2015, the administration later banned the import and sale of GMO fish until it could implement labeling guidelines for the GMO products. (Those have yet to be written.)
According to CNBC, both IGA and Costco have said they will not carry the GMO salmon.