The Latest Grocery Battle: GMO Salmon

At this point, the introduction of genetically-modified salmon into the marketplace is an inevitability. While our neighbors to the north are still mired in a lawsuit over the manufacturing of GMO fish, all hints point towards the FDA being nearly ready to announce a decision on whether or not so-called Frankenfish will be allowed to enter the American marketplace. While no one's sure yet what the decision is going to be, even if it is approved, it may not really matter.

Because you can't sell something if no one's able to buy it.

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Kroger and Safeway, the two largest grocery store chains in the country, took bold steps last week by announcing they'll refuse to carry GMO salmon no matter what the FDA decides. The two are following a trail that's previously been blazed by 60 other retailers, including Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and Meijer, all companies that made similar declarations. That means over 9,000 supermarket stores in the country have essentially banned GMO fish from their aisles.

Now, these self-imposed bans aren't necessarily occurring because the owners feel adamantly about the high possibility of genetically-modified fish escaping into the wild and breeding natural fish out of existence. These are corporations we're talking about here, and corporations don't have feelings other than really, really, really loving money. Which is exactly the emotion that environmental-minded consumer organizations like Friends of the Earth and Center for Food Safety have been aiming for.

These two organizations, along with scores of smaller ones, have gathered enough signatures to make compelling enough cases to the grocery CEOs that they'd be wise to refuse to carry GMO salmon. Or else. Which just goes to show you all, once again, the power of simply signing a petition every now and then.

But despite Kroger's and Safeway's involvement, this isn't over yet. There are still holdouts that have yet to make an announcement regarding what they'll do if GMO salmon is approved, and they are biggies: Costco and Walmart.

The former may be the easier of the big fishes to snag seeing as Costco has yet to take an official stance on GMO products. But that doesn't mean getting them to oppose the salmon will be a cake walk, especially if the news that they're allegedly planning on selling salmon that's been fed GMO yeast checks out. But with 451 locations in the U.S., the warehouse club making a declaration against carrying the salmon would be a big boon for the anti-GMO cause. The Center for Food Safety has a petition directed towards Costco's CEO, urging him to be the next big company to take the commitment. If you want to take an additional step or two, you can find the various ways to contact Costco offices over here.

As far as getting Walmart's higher-ups to add their 4,203 American stores to the list, it may be a tad more difficult. They've already gone on record saying they'll be selling GMO sweet corn to the public, so getting them to backtrack on that stance when it comes to fish might not be realistic. But their various customer service numbers are available here if you want to make a few calls.

Frankly, it's worth a shot. Because if both of these retailers end up joining the boycott, the battle over GMO salmon may be essentially over before the FDA even gets a chance to weigh in.

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About the Author

Rick Paulas has written plenty of things, some of them serious, many of them not, scattered over the vast expanses of the Internet. He lives in Los Angeles and is a White Sox fan.
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