Major grocers refuse to sell genetically-modified fish - KMSP-TV

Major grocers refuse to sell genetically-modified fish

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Flickr/Creative Commons/Andrea Pokrzywinski Flickr/Creative Commons/Andrea Pokrzywinski

Although the Food and Drug Administration is close to approving genetically modified fish for admission into the food supply, many major grocers in Minnesota say they won't sell any.

So far, more than 2,000 stores have vowed not to sell genetically engineered seafood, and many consumers are commending Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and other major retailers for it.

The FDA is poised to approve genetically-modified salmon, but many shoppers say they don't need to try it to have a strong opinion.

"It annoys me. I think food should be nutritious for your body," M.K. Racine told FOX 9 News. "Anything genetically modified, not natural, and anything that doesn't belong in your body shouldn't be in your body."

The U.S. is already the world's largest market for foods made with genetically-altered plant ingredients, but some get squeamish at the thought of what could be the first genetically-modified animal to enter the food chain.

"It kind of freaks me out a little bit, to be honest with you," said Anz Johansen. "I definitely go for the wild caught salmon myself and for my family."

With genetic modification, the salmon grow twice as big twice as fast. While the fish are hailed as a safe way to save time and money, Whole Foods remains loyal to the natural catch. In fact, they already warn their shoppers about products containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) with labels.

"We're the first national retailer to commit to complete GMO transparency by 2018," said Lauren Kebshull.

However, some believe genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) may help when it comes to resources and sustainability.

"A lot of people believe that we could end up fishing our oceans dry, and this is something that could sustain it," said Seth Bixby-Daugherty, founder of Real Food Initiatives. "If this is something that could help feed people -- and inevitably we'd eat, and they're already eating genetically-modified vegetables, I'd rather have them eat something than nothing."

Even so, when asked whether he -- as a chef and culinary teacher -- is a full-fledged proponent of GMO fish, he said curiosity might catch him.

"I would probably purchase it and bring it in to show it to my students and show them that up against another salmon," he said. "Whether or not I'd eat it that day, I don't know. Out of curiosity alone, I'd probably taste it."

Dozens of countries have already pushed for GMO label requirements that Whole Foods plans to have implemented in the next five years. As a matter of fact, the European Union forced mandatory labeling -- and FOX Business reported that GMO products and crops have almost disappeared from those markets.

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