Costco Pressured to Shun "Frankenfish"

By Tom Bacon

The Seattle-based warehouse membership retailer, Costco, is being pushed hard by food safety and environmental groups to shun a brand of genetically engineered salmon. Several major retailers - including Trader Joe's, Safeway and Target - have already agreed not to sell the salmon, which are called "Frankenfish" by opponents of food treated with genetically modified organisms - GMOs.

Costco store in Alaska, photo credit Flickr user asmythie.The Food and Drug Administration, however, has issued initial findings that the Atlantic salmon, juiced up with a gene that causes them to grow to market size in about half the time of a normal salmon, are safe for human consumption. But the federal watchdog agency has not yet decided on the proposal from AquaBounty Technologies to market the fish.

In Congress, the plan has run into opposition across party lines from lawmakers who fret about potential public health and environmental consequences of allowing the genetically altered salmon into the market. Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski is one - she said that if the FDA approves the plan, the salmon must be clearly labeled as having been genetically engineered. 

Photo: Costco store in Alaska, photo credit Flickr user asmythie.

The Center for Food Safety, Friends of the Earth and other groups have launched a letter-writing campaign to Costco's C-E-O Craig Jelinek urging him not to sell the fish.

Costco officials have not so far responded to requests for comment on the issue.
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