Costco is one of the largest grocery store chains in the United States, boasting 474 locations nationwide.
For this reason, its influence on what people buy, and eat, is notable. Unfortunately, Costco has been considering selling the dreaded FrankenSalmon on its shelves, much to the dismay of concerned consumers and environmental groups.
As we reported last year, over 60 retailers across the country have already publicly stated that they will not be selling the GM salmon, officially known as AquAdvantage, which has had its growth hormone genes altered to reach its full size in just 18 months. These retailers include Whole Foods, Safeway, Kroger, Trader Joe’s, and Aldi.
Costco, on the other hand, has not been very forthcoming with its intentions regarding the salmon, leading to some reasonable suspicions that the large wholesale chain is considering sporting it on its shelves. Although reports state that Costco’s customer service department has sent several emails dismissing claims of plans to sell FrankenSalmon, they have not made an official commitment one way or the other.
In response to this wishy-washy behavior, a protest was held this past spring in Seattle, during which a petition with 50,000 signatures was presented to Costco’s general manager — who refused to take it. The petition was spearheaded by the Community Alliance for Global Justice (CAGJ). Organizations present at the protest included Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth, and the Seattle-based Loki Fish Company.
Peter Knutson, owner of Loki Fish Company, said of the salmon: “Far from being a substitute, genetically engineered salmon are a scheme to enrich the few at the expense of our natural legacy.” He added that focus should be placed on the restoration of natural salmon populations in the Northwest, as opposed to altering the fish through GM technology.
As we have previously explored, some of the worries regarding FrankenSalmon — aside from the fact that we have no idea what the long-term effects of consuming genetically modified foods will be on our health — include worries of the salmon escaping their containment areas and breeding with wild salmon. This could cause all sorts of repercussions on salmon populations, and the food chain as a whole.
Sadly, Costco has already surreptitiously used a form of genetic modification when it comes to salmon. Last year, there were reports of Costco selling salmon fed using genetically modified yeast. While these salmon were not genetically modified themselves, some scientists feel that the GM feed consumed by animals may adversely affect humans, as well.
As far as the FrankenSalmon issue, Costco has been denying interviews. We hope the voices of so many concerned environmental and health advocates — and a great number of consumers in general — are heard.
So, what can we do? If you are concerned about this issue, you could contact a local environmental or aquaculture organization, or write to a local representative. And, in our own kitchens, we could all continue to choose only wild-caught Alaskan salmon — none of the farmed fish, thank you very much!
-The Alternative Daily