Where is Frankenfish being sold in the US? Who knows…

Millions of pounds of Frankenfish are now being sold in the US -- but makers won't reveal where.

by | August 1, 2022

Filed Under Uncategorized

Makers of genetically engineered salmon won’t tell where it’s being sold

AquaBounty, the makers of genetically engineered salmon (GE), made its first harvest of its “AquAdvantage” in May 2021. The fish are made and grown in a land-based facility in Indiana where 2.6 million pounds are projected for harvest each year.

Global marketer Tradex is the first to pose the question – where is the GE salmon going?

Dubbed Frankenfish, the salmon is the first animal to get approval in 2015 from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. It is an Atlantic salmon tweaked with genes from Chinook and an eel-like ocean pout. The manmade fish can go from egg to 11 pounds in 18 months, 10 months faster than normal salmon.

AquaBounty, based in Massachusetts, also has two facilities at Prince Edward Island in Canada that operate as a hatchery and research stations. A fourth is set to begin operations next year in Ohio where it expects to produce 22 million pounds of Frankenfish annually.

Last May, AquaBounty announced they were working with only one restaurant distributor, Philadelphia-based Samuels and Son Seafood, which sells to restaurants in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

However, Tradex reports that AquaBounty President and CEO Sylvia Wulf announced that Samuels and Son “decided to wait until the product was successfully introduced in the marketplace” and has not distributed the salmon.

“AquaBounty is currently selling all of its weekly harvests to a variety of customers which {they} won’t name for proprietary considerations,” Wulf said.

AquaBounty says that its primary focus for distribution is currently on the foodservice channel, seafood distributors, and wholesalers with the GMO salmon landing in some restaurants. It also plans to focus on ecommerce and selling to consumers directly, “allowing them to build a relationship and learn how to engage the consumer with the product they’re providing,” Tradex reported.

In a law signed in December 2020, Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski secured language requiring the term “genetically engineered” be included in the market name of any GE animal approved for human consumption by the FDA. 

But the new labeling laws don’t apply to restaurants or providers of meals away from home.

More than 80 U.S. companies with a combined 18,000 locations have said they will not carry the fish. They include Aramark, Compass, and Sodexo and nearly every major grocery chain, including Walmart, Costco, Kroger, Giant Eagle, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.

About Laine

Laine Welch has covered the Alaska fish beat for print and radio since 1988. She also has worked “behind the counter” at retail and wholesale seafood companies in Kodiak and on Cape Cod.


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