In Support of GE Salmon
Production can begin, but will consumers get to try it?
The FDA has recently cleared the way for AquaBounty to start production of their Atlantic Salmon. I’m excited about sampling this salmon for several reasons.
1) It reduces pressure on wild populations which are endangered in some areas. Currently no wild populations are fished, but let's not tempt fate.
2) It is grown using practices found to be the most ecologically sound and sustainable by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
3) I understand from the few reporters that have tried the fish that it is as tasty as you’d expect from any Atlantic Salmon.
All of these points and more are addressed by Dr. Anastasia Bodner in “Fast-growing genetically engineered salmon approved”:
Why does the AquaBounty salmon need support?
Years ago, some supermarkets indicated that they had no plans to carry the fish. Now that the salmon can actually be produced, it might be time for them to include it in their plans. Hopefully they can be nudged in the right direction for sustainability and the environment. As customers we should be able to get this fish. If it turns out it isn’t competitive on cost or taste, well so be it, but let’s give it a chance.
Last weekend I sent letters/e-mails/messages in various combinations to my local market chains or their parent companies: Albertsons, Krogers, and Trader Joe’s. I even shot a missive to Whole Foods. I asked them all to look for the fish and to please carry it when it becomes available. While I was at it I included a plug for Arctic Apples and Innate Potatoes, as why not include options that can help reduce food waste too?
To get the ball rolling on the letter writing, Biology Fortified was kind enough to let me be a guest writer. I put together a template for talking to the markets, stressing the environmental benefits and how it might also be in their self-interest to carry this salmon. If you are interested in contacting your local market, please check out the piece. It is titled “Ask your supermarket to stock GMO salmon”.
>>… It also couldn’t hurt to notify your local grocer that you’d like them to carry this fish as well. To spark ideas, I’ll share the template I’m using in drafting my own letters. Feel free to use any, all, or none of it, if you decide to write to some of these grocers.<<
While I didn’t really expect responses, a few e-mails have trickled in.
-Whole Foods was fast to respond, and quite clear that they will never carry the salmon. As expected, but I had it ready for a copy and paste and thought, what the heck, couldn’t hurt. 😏
-Kroger/Ralphs was quite cordial and indicated they would pass the request on to the relevant departments.
-Albertsons/Vons seemed a bit confused as if I was AquaBounty asking to be a vendor rather than it being a customer request.
Regardless of what was said, I’m happy to have responses coming in. It shows that somebody at the supermarkets is reading the message. I wonder if my hard copy letters will engender an in-kind response? Only time will tell, I’ll be checking my mailbox.
4–13–19 A letter from Albertsons/Vons Senior VP Merchandising and Marketing on behalf of the CEO. He indicated that they and the supermarket industry are watching the matter closely. They are waiting until supplies are closer to being available before making any decisions. On the bright side it wasn’t a no, they are aware that it will take more than a year for the fish to be ready for sale, which means that AquaBounty is on their radar.
A next step has come to light. In one of the responses they said that inventory varies from store to store and region to region. While my suggestion to them is going up the ladder they noted that product request forms are available at their customer service desks.
I think I might try that once AquaBounty gets into full production in Indiana. But perhaps that might be moot if they get enough customers asking for the salmon via letter/message/e-mail. No pressure on anyone reading this…