Costco said Friday it does not intend to sell genetically modified salmon at this time, joining a list of retailers that say they will not sell the fish despite the approval Thursday by the federal Food and Drug Administration of such fish for human consumption.
“Although the FDA has approved the sale of GM salmon, Costco has not sold and does not intend to sell GM salmon at this time,” the warehouse store chain said in a statement Friday.
The FDA cleared for sale AquAdvantage Salmon, the genetically modified fish that grows twice as fast as normal salmon, saying “there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.”
AquAdvantage Salmon is engineered by the Massachusetts-based company AquaBounty, which said the fish could be on grocery store shelves in about two years.
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The FDA says the law does not require the fish, when it hits store shelves, to be labeled as engineered because there are no material differences between an engineered and a normal salmon. But the FDA also set guidelines for retailers who do want to label the fish.
Critics have pressured retailers to reject the salmon, which they have labeled “Frankenfish.” They worry it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the natural- salmon population if it escapes into the wild.
Retailers including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Target and Kroger have all said they are not planning to sell AquAdvantage Salmon.
Protesters urged Costco to make a similar pledge back in June.