Consumer groups urge Costco to publicly reject GMO salmon


Consumer groups are pressuring retail giant Costco to publicly promise not to sell genetically modified salmon even if it’s approved by federal regulators.

Friends of the Earth said more than 18,000 letters will be delivered to Costco Wholesale Corp. stores this week, about two months after a coalition of groups including the Center for Food Safety, Food & Water Watch, and Food Democracy Now, collected more than 300,000 signatures on petition urging Costco to refrain from selling the salmon, which they dubbed “Frankenfish.”

In the absence of regulatory approval, Costco responded by saying it did not plan to sell salmon classified as a genetically modified organism (GMO). But consumer groups say the retailer has left the door open to selling it in the future if the Food and Drug Administration approves it.

“We are asking Costco to stand behind the science, be a true leader in seafood sustainability and listen to the majority of consumers who do not want to eat genetically engineered fish,” Dana Perls, Friends of the Earth’s food and technology policy campaigner, said in a news release. “More than 60 of Costco’s competitors have committed to not sell GMO salmon — Costco needs to catch up and provide its customers with what they want: natural, sustainable seafood that isn’t genetically engineered in a lab.”

According to the coalition of consumer groups, more than 60 retailers including Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Safeway and Kroger have made commitments to not sell the genetically modified fish, they say threatens to harm the environment, pollute the genetics of native salmon and undermine the livelihood of fishermen.

In a statement to The Hill, Costco said scientific research is being conducted and oversight of GMO foods falls under the FDA’s area of responsibility.

“The FDA has not approved the sale of GMO salmon,” the company said. “Costco has no​t sold and does not ​ intend​ ​to​ sell GMO salmon at this time.”

This story was updated at 5:54 p.m.

Tags Aquaculture Costco Environment Fish Food Genetically modified organism Genetically modified salmon Salmon

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