Food service giant Aramark says it wont buy genetically engineered salmon

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While not naming specifically, food service company boycotts AquaBounty fish.

In a statement on its sustainability goals, the American food-service company Aramark writes that it has reinforced a policy that it won’t buy genetically engineered salmon.

“Reiterating our previously stated opposition to genetically engineered (GE) salmon, we will not purchase it should it come to market,” Aramark’s policy stated.

Aramark generated revenues of USD 12.9 billion in 2020 supplying food to hospitals, universities, school districts, stadiums and other businesses around the world.

While not specifically naming the company, AquaBounty is the only company that is currently producing the fast-growing AquAdvantage Salmon. The company first received approvals from US and Canadian regulators in 2015 and 2016 stating that its fish is safe for consumers to eat.

Aramark said that “avoiding potential impacts to wild salmon populations and indigenous communities, whose livelihoods are deeply connected to and often dependent upon this vital resource, is core to our company’s commitment to making a positive impact on people and the planet”.

However, AquaBounty raises its fish in a land-based RAS facility in Albany, Indiana.

The global activist group Friends of the Earth (FoE) released a statement following the news. FoE said that two other major food companies Compass Group and Sodexo have also refused to sell. Its members and allies have convinced “80 grocery retailers, seafood companies and restaurants with more than 18,000 locations nationwide” to also do so, and they are all listed on their site.

AquaBounty wrote that harvest of AquAdvantage Salmon is expected in the first quarter of 2021. The biotech company has sold small quantities in the past (4.5 tonnes) with one Canadian buyer saying that he “would take as much as you can produce” for high-end sashimi lines.

On Thursday, Aquabounty wrote that it was raising USD 150 million in a public offering of common stock, to be used for operations and sites.