There’s Something Fishy About Failures to Label GMO Food

While FDA has not yet approved sale of genetically engineered (GMO) salmon, a new “harmoniously raised” salmon just marketed last month is making GMO waves. Sold by AquaChile, the Verlasso-brand salmon claims environmental cred by reducing the use of fish feed used to raise their salmon. Instead of fish feed, the company uses yeast to increase the levels of nutritionally valued omega-3 fatty acids in the salmon.

What the company isn’t telling about their harmonious fish is that it appears that the yeast feed additive has been genetically engineered for high omega-3 levels. As a 2009 DuPont environmental report notes, the company floated the idea of GMO yeast for fish feed to seven “environmental” groups (the groups are not named but DuPont says the project was developed in consultation with the  World Wildlife Fund’s  “Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue”). This July, DuPont announced a partnership with AquaChile on a “sustainable aquaculture” project to reduce salmon feed with the use of an “innovative” new yeast additive.

Why are DuPont and AquaChile going out of their way to avoid mentioning that their “sustainable” new salmon is fed with GMO yeast? Because they know consumers want to know about GMO food, and they’re desperate to avoid letting on about any new GMO “innovation.” Alarmingly, a Verlasso executive told Seafood Source that DuPont’s original notion was to use the GMO yeast in human dietary supplements (perhaps someone at the company remembered the disaster with the GMO supplement tryptophan and pulled the plug).

These events highlight the urgent need for GMO food labeling – a right Europeans have enjoyed for more than ten years. That’s why CEH is proud to be part of the Just Label It! campaign launched this week by nearly 400 businesses and organizations calling on the FDA to require labels on GMO food. The broad coalition includes the American Nurses Association, Physicians for Social Responsibility, Consumers Union (publisher of Consumer Reports), the American Medical Student Association, and many others.

CEH and our partner the Center for Food Safety are also continuing to urge food companies to take a stand against Monsanto’s risky new GMO corn. Without labeling, the only way consumers can avoid this new GMO when they buy frozen or canned corn is when responsible food makers reject experimental new GMOs. Join us by taking action today!

Watch the Just Label It! campaign video: