Aquaponics company unveils non-GMO certified salmon
By Nestor Arellano
Over the years, the descriptor, genetically modified organism (GMO) has been applied to a growing number of foods items that end up on grocery shelves and dining tables. Recently, the United States’ Food and Drug Administration (FDA) caused quite a stir by approving GMO salmon for human consumption, resulting in significant opposition from consumer advocates, fishing groups, public health officials and native communities.
In response to the request of farmers and consumers seeking a meaningful non-GMO label for salmon, Superior Fresh, an aquaponics facility specializing in organic leafy greens and Atlantic salmon, announced that it is offering the first salmon product to be certified non-GMO by A Greener World (AWG).
AWG is a non-profit organization that identifies, audits, certifies and promotes practical, sustainable farming systems by supporting farmers and ranchers and informing consumers.
AGW guarantees food is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, and comes from animals raised according to higher animal welfare standards using sustainable agriculture methods. On salmon, the Certified Non-GMO classification by AGW includes A Greener World’s Salmon Welfare Certified standards, incorporating the UK RSPCA’s respected higher welfare salmon standards.
Certified Non-GMO by AGW has meaningful prohibitions on GMO contamination (see comparison chart here for more details), and ensures that at no point in the growing, processing or manufacturing of the product will GMOs enter the system.
“The fish production systems at Superior Fresh are designed and managed using technology that maintains clean water, giving our salmon the opportunity to live in a stress-free environment,” said Brandon Gottsacker, president of Superior Fresh. “It is our duty to make sure our fish have great welfare, leading to the best quality fish for the consumer.”
Superior Fresh touts its one-of-a kind sustainable ecosystem that combines advanced aquaculture and hydroponic growing techniques. The company says it uses the cleanest water, mimicking the natural environment and providing an ideal and safe growing environment for fish. The Atlantic salmon in Superior Fresh farms never receive any hormones or antibiotics, and are fed a sustainable, organic diet, the company added.
He said that in the absence of a USDA Organic standard for seafood, Superior Fresh decided to obtain the AGW certifications for Salmon Welfare and GMO-Free to assure customers that the company meets their standards.
As public concern for the labeling of GMOs (genetically modified organisms, also known as GE, or genetically engineered) continues to grow, the market for non-GMO products is surging 17 per cent annually and expected to reach U$1.1 billion by 2023, according to industry analyst, Technavio.
Consumers seek out non-GMO products for a variety of reasons, including environmental sustainability, health, corporate consolidation and transparency, according to Superior Fresh. A lack of clear labeling around GMOs means that consumers must actively seek out Certified Non-GMO products to avoid them, the company said.
“Wild fisheries are under significant threat – through habitat destruction, industrially abusive production practices, and now genetically modified salmon,” said Andrew Gunther, executive director of AGW. “Stewardship-based approaches like that of Superior Fresh are essential solutions if we are to meet our current needs without impacting wild ecosystems while we work to rebuild them.”