The genetically modified salmon debate has been going on for years, with proponents saying that the new lab created fish will make for faster and more cost-effective production, and opponents pointing out the lack of long-term safety testing as well as potential environmental hazards of the fast growing fish.
The salmon has been created using so-called “antifreeze proteins,” and will not be labeled as GMO — especially if you happen to consume it from a food provider to be prepared and cooked that day, rather than doing so at home.
During the coronavirus situation the makers of the controversial GMO salmon, AquaBounty, said that their plans for bringing the fish to a larger U.S. market were halted considerably.
But now, the nationwide, and perhaps worldwide, rollout is officially on, as the first GMO salmon has been sold by a Philadelphia-based seafood distributor.
First GMO Salmon Officially Sold at Market in Philadelphia
As reported on by PennslyvaniaNews.com, the GMO fish was sold by Philadelphia-based distributors Samuels and Son Seafood, the only company that has announced the sale of the salmon thus far.
The new fish is genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as natural salmon in the wild and reach market size, eight to twelve pounds, in just 18 months as opposed to 36 months.
The fish are grown indoors at an aquaculture farm in Albany, Indiana, the report said.
The salmon were first scheduled to be harvested in late 2020, but the virus slowed things down.
Demand is up, and the GMO salmon are headed to the market despite opposition from environmental and health groups who say the consequences are unknown should the fast growing fish escape into the wild, among other serious questions.
“The influence of COVID has led us to rethink our original schedule … no one was looking for more salmon at the time,” she said. “We are very excited now. We are timing the harvest with the economic recovery and we know that demand will continue to grow.”
Thus far, international food service company Aramark is among those who have pledged not to sell the sell due to environmental concerns as well as its potential impact on indigenous salmon fish communities.
Others following suit include Costco, Wal-Mart and Whole Foods, who have said they do not sell GMO or cloned salmon and have said that the salmon should be labeled so consumers can decide.
What You Must Know to Avoid the New GMO Salmon
A visit to the Philadelphia-based fish market’s website does not list the GMO salmon currently, illustrating the difficulties of knowing exactly when and where these products are being sold.
The best way to know your salmon is not genetically modified is of course to catch it yourself, or to buy a certified organic or wild caught product.
Be especially careful whenever dining out or eating in a cafeteria setting, as these are believed to be the newest targets for unlabeled GMO food products, including GMO salmon, apples, potatoes, and similar products.