Costco Wholesale announced on Friday, Nov. 29 that it will not sell genetically-modified salmon. The statement was made following the approval of the first genetically-modified animal for food consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the product of AquaBounty.
Costco acknowledged the impending importation of engineered salmon to the United States.
The company knows that this type of salmon is manufactured using processes that are more efficient in translating feed to gain. Efficiency in aquaculture, specifically dependence on forage fisheries for fish oil and fish meal, is said to be one of the factors that Costco looks at when deciding to source products.
"Based on the information available to us at this time, however, and the absence of regulatory approval, we do not plan to sell GMO salmon," Costco said in a statement. The company will persist to monitor any developments.
The product currently in hot talks is AquaBounty's AquAdvantage salmon, which has been repeatedly approved for consumption by the FDA.
Although the product is not yet available in the market, the firm projects that it will take approximately two years for it to hit the shelves. However, in a press announcement released by the FDA on Nov. 19, the agency said that it has found AquAdvantage safe for human consumption after analysis and research.
The genetically-modified salmon is said to grow twice as rapid as normal fish. When it comes to biological discrepancies, however, FDA said there are no relevant differences in the nutritional content of the engineered and farm-raised fish.
Bernadette Dunham, director of FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine, said that the FDA has comprehensively studied the information submitted to them and found that the product meets the regulatory requirements set and that it is safe for consumption.
According to the law, the product will not be required to have labels that it is a genetically-modified organism (GMO). Such decision was made due to the lack of differences between modified and normal fish. However, a set of guidelines has been set for retailers that want to voluntarily label the product.
Some consumers are not pleased with the decision made by the FDA. "We were very disappointed in the FDA for this approval," said Michael Hansen, a senior scientist at Consumers Union, which is a nonprofit consumer advocate group. "We think it's based on bad science."
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