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Restaurants, Organic Grocers Pledge Not to Buy Biotechnology Seafood

SAN FRANCISCO - About 200 restaurants, grocers and seafood distributors pledged Wednesday not to buy, serve or sell fish created by biotechnology, joining some environmental groups and fishermen in opposing genetically engineered seafood, The Associated Press reports.

"Scientists and corporations are playing with genetics without knowing the consequences," said Eric Ripert, executive chef of New York restaurant Le Bernadin.

Among those signing the pledge were a dozen Alaskan seafood distributors and 24 organic-food-oriented grocery stores and chains, including Whole Foods Market. Others included restaurants from Berkeley's Chez Panisse to Washington, D.C.'s Citronelle and celebrity chefs such as Thomas Keller of Yountville's French Laundry and David Pasternack of New York's Esca.

The fish pledge was organized by three anti-biotechnology groups: Center for Food Safety, Clean Water Action and Friends of the Earth.

The Food and Drug Administration is considering an application to market Atlantic salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as salmon raised on "fish farms." A decision isn't expected for more than two years because the company must conduct environmental safety tests.

An FDA-commissioned study issued last month concluded that engineered fish could pose significant environmental issues if they are released into the wild and breed with native species.

Executives with Aqua Bounty Farms of Waltham, Mass., which is developing the engineered salmon, said the attacks are unfair because environmental studies have not been completed.
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