GMO Alert: GMO Salmon, Russet Potatoes Approved



by Catherine Haug, Nov 2015 (Image, right, from Organic Consumers Assoc., used with permission)

The latest GMO foods to be approved by the USDA/FDA include:

  • Russet potato  ‘Innate’ (for baking or deep frying) from J.R. Simplot Co. approved by USDA without mandatory labeling.
  • AquAdvantage farmed Salmon developed by Aqua Bounty Technologies, approved by FDA who recommended, but did not require, labeling of these fish as GMO.

For more information about the GMO salmon and efforts to fight back and mandate GMO labeling on GMO fish, see the Center for Food Safety’s site: They are considering suing the FDA over this approval without mandatory labeling.

The GMO Innate potato is engineered for processed foods that deep-fry potatoes for French fries, potato chips, and other high-temperature fried potato products. The good news is that McDonalds and Frito-Lay have both rejected this potato. However, it may still be found in the produce section of your grocer. Best to choose Organic russet potatoes.

This potato bruises less readily and contains less cancer-causing acrylamide when cooked at high temperatures (deep frying). However, these ‘benefits’ are a bit superfluous, given that a non-GMO potato has been naturally bred for reduced acrylamide: the Teton Russet, and another non-GMO potato has been bred to resist bruising (and blight): the Kifli potato. (1)

If you grow potatoes in your garden, there’s good news: if you start with a tuber rather than seed, buy your tubers from a reputable supplier like Potato GardenMoose TubersIrish Eyes, (plus many others). If you do grow from seed, be careful about seed-swapping, and know your grower. Also, this particular type of GMO will not cross-contaminate traditional varieties (unlike GMO corn and canola). (2)

The real challenge regarding this GMO potato comes with fast food and other processed foods. Your best option, for this and so many other reasons, is to avoid all fast and processed foods. If you must give in, look for those labeled by the Non-GMO Project.

The GMO salmon is more troubling. It is the first (but likely not the last) GMO animal approved by our government. It is a fast-growing farmed Atlantic salmon (reaches maturity in only 2 years), allowing the farmer to reap the $$ benefits faster.

Avoiding all farmed salmon is a good start, but be aware that farmed salmon and other farmed fish are notorious escape artists, and can cross-breed with native wild salmon. Aqua Bounty states these fish will be raised in land-based tanks, which should eliminate cross-breeding; however, Aqua Bounty’s “egg production facility on Prince Edward Island is near an estuary that feeds into the ocean;” also “the fish will be allowed to mature in a location in Panama that is located near a river, making escape a remote but nevertheless real possibility.” (3)

While some large retailers such as Costco, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s have stated they will not sell this fish, like all unlabeled GMO foods, it will be hard to verify what you are buying.

I have alerted Melanie, the fish-buyer at Bigfork Harvest Foods, about this new GMO food. She only buys farmed Atlantic salmon from a Canadian company; as I write this, Health Canada has not yet approved sale of this GMO food in Canada, but it is currently under review. (4)

It is worth noting this GMO fish was patented by Canadian scientists, the egg-production facilities are in Canada, and the fish will be raised in Panama. The FDA is not (yet) allowing the fish to be raised in the US, but they are allowing its sale. (40)


  1. GM Watch:
  3. Time:
  4. CBC-Canada:


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