The Food and Drug Administration recently ruled that genetically engineered salmon can be sold in the US without any labels noting that its DNA has been altered. There is indeed strong scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe to consume. But safe or not, I believe I have a right to know what I’m eating. Label food for what it is, and let me decide for myself.
Thus I’m planning to buy my salmon at retailers such as Kroger, Safeway, Target, Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, which have announced that they will not stock the genetically modified fish.
But genetic modification isn’t the only challenge for those of us who want to know what seafood we’re consuming. When the nonprofit organization Oceana did DNA testing on the salmon sold in the US, it discovered that 43% of it wasn’t what the seller claimed. Farmed Atlantic salmon often was sold as wild Pacific salmon. Oceana has found that other seafood has fishy labeling, too.
Here, advice from Oceana’s Dr. Kimberly Warner…
Buy fish in supermarkets. Oceana discovered that mislabeling is much less common in supermarkets—less than 20%—than in small markets, restaurants and especially sushi venues.
Eat fresh regional fish during its fishing season. Misidentification is most common out of season, so lean toward buying regional seafood when you know it is in season. Examples: Chesapeake blue crab is in season from April to December…Alaska wild salmon, in late spring through the fall.
Purchase whole fish when feasible. Merchants are less likely to pass off one species as another when consumers can see the entire fish.