Climate & Energy Blog

Tell Kroger: It's time to take a stand on GE-seafood!

Posted Jul. 18, 2013 / Posted by: Emma Hedman

Today, Friends of the Earth launched a social media day of action for its Campaign for GE Free Seafood. We are asking Kroger to join  Whole Foods, Aldi, and Trader Joe’s, Target, and others  in not knowingly purchasing or selling genetically engineered salmon, or other genetically engineered seafood, should it come to market. We currently have 59 retailers, representing 4,823 stores across the country committed to this cause, and hope that with your help Kroger will be next on the list!

This movement is vital given that the FDA is close to approving the AquAdvantage® Salmon, the first ever genetically engineered animal to enter our grocery stores, even though one poll shows that 91% of Americans do not want the FDA to allow GE fish and meat in the market . This would set the precedent for releasing more GE animals, such as cows, chickens and more than 30 other GE seafood species that are in the development phases, without any GE-specific labeling and GE-animal specific regulations.

We want Kroger, America’s largest grocery chainto be a leader in seafood sustainability by  committing to not sell genetically engineered seafood.

According to Kroger’s Sustainable Seafood Policy, “as the nation’s largest traditional grocery retailer, Kroger recognizes that we have an important role to play in responsible sourcing of seafood. Our goal is that our customers and their children can enjoy fresh, sustainable seafood for generations to come.” However, so far they’ve had trouble living up to this statement.

In Greenpeace’s latest “Carting Away the Oceans” report, Kroger scored a dismal 18th place out of 20 retailers. According to Greenpeace, one of the main reasons for this low mark is Kroger’s refusal to stop selling Red-List fish species, which are the fish that are popular for human consumption whose populations are most  in danger based on current fishing practices and fisheries management systems. In this category Kroger’s was the absolute worst out of all the retailers, selling a “dismal” 17 out of 22 red-list fish species.

All of the retailers who have joined Friends of the Earth in our Campaign for GE-Free Seafood rank higher than Kroger’s, most notably with Whole Foods at the #1 spot, Trader Joe’s at #3, Target at #6 and Aldi at #7. Kroger, at #18, received an overall 4.42 score out of 10, based on scores for Sustainable Seafood Policy, Initiatives and Transparency.

Does that sound like a “leader of sustainable seafood” to you?

We all know that wild fish stocks are in danger. According to a report by the UN, 80% of the world’s fish stocks are fully or overexploited  and will require alternative management to prevent more wild fish stocks from collapsing. When you add the fact that ocean conditions as a whole are changing and that the global demand for meat and fish is on the rise, it is tempting to think that these engineered fish may be the solution that aquaculture has been looking for. Just like it may be tempting to think that creating super volcanoes to inject solar-reflecting particles into the atmosphere rather than cutting our emissions, or engineering plants that dramatically increase yield per acre rather than developing a better food system or curtailing demand.

Industry denies there will be negative environmental impacts, and claims that this is progress. By creating a fish that will grow faster with less input, they claim our reliance on fishing wild fish stocks will decrease and that we can avoid changing our consumption habits by just moving production of fish protein elsewhere. But at what cost? The potential for escape and contamination of wild fish stocks with synthesized DNA is a serious concern according to a study by the Proceedings of the Royal Society. Perhaps worse is the fact that our regulatory apparatus is woefully underequipped to assess whether the salmon is healthy for people or the environment, and to implement controls if anything goes wrong. For more Information on the drawbacks of GE salmon, see our factsheet on genetically engineered fish or our blog about GE-Salmon Myth-Busting.

We believe that we need to take responsibility for addressing core issues of environmental degradation, rather than rushing into further technological development that may worsen the quagmire we’ve made for ourselves instead of ameliorating it.  As Albert Einstein once said, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” We need to thoroughly consider the consequences and find appropriate and effective regulatory mechanisms.  If we keep pushing forward out of fear, we may be creating more problems with our intended “solutions.” By continuing forever to avoid the problems we created with the next quick solution, we’re not giving ourselves the chance to evolve.

JOIN US in asking Kroger to be a leader for truly sustainable fishing practices by not giving into the notion that GE-seafood is the only way out, or “the future of salmon aquaculture” as Aquabounty ® claims. We can decide our own future, and Americans do not want GE-Seafood on our plates. There are other solutions, and together we can push grocery stores to make the right decisions.

Step 1: Post any of these messages on Kroger’s Facebook page:

I don’t want genetically engineered fish in my local Kroger store. It’s time to make a firm commitment not to sell GE seafood. www.gefreeseafood.org

Whole Foods, Target and Trader Joe’s have all signed the petition against genetically engineered foods. What are you waiting for? It’s time to make a firm commitment not to sell GE seafood. www.gefreeseafood.org

Frankenfish? We don’t like that species. Follow in the footsteps of Whole Foods, Target and Trader Joe’s and keep genetically engineered seafood off your shelves. www.gefreeseafood.org

Step 2: Click on any of these tweets to tweet them at Kroger’s Twitter page:

-      Tell @Kroger 91% of Americans don’t want GE fish in the market or on their plates! #GEfreeseafood http://bit.ly/14dOFkd @foe_us 

-      FDA nearing approval of GE salmon - tell @Kroger to sign the Pledge for #GEfreeseafood today! http://bit.ly/14dOFkd @foe_us

-      .@Kroger: You’re falling behind Target, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods—Join 4,400 stores & say no GE seafood! http://bit.ly/14dOFkd @foe_us 

You can also tweet at you favorite Kroger banner store and let them know you do not want any genetically engineered seafood at their seafood counters!:

  • Kroger: @kroger
  • Food 4 Less: @Food4Less
  • Foods Co. https://www.facebook.com/FoodsCo
  • Fred Meyer: @Fred_Meyer
  • Fry's: @FrysFoodStores
  • Ralphs: @RalphsGrocery
  • Smith's: @MySmithsGrocery

Step 3: Share this image on your own Facebook page to get your friends involved:

FOEKroger

Don’t have a Facebook or Twitter account? Give Kroger a call. 

Customer service: 1-800-576-4377,

Sample script:  

Hi, my name is ___________and I am calling to urge Kroger to commit to not to sell genetically engineered salmon and other genetically engineered seafood.  It poses risks to wild salmon, our health and environment and won’t be labeled -- so I wouldn’t be able to  make an informed choice.

Will Kroger make a firm commitment to not sell genetically engineered salmon and other seafood if it’s approved by the FDA?

Thank you

You can also send emails to: service.representative@kroger.com

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