Hixton, Wis.-based Superior Fresh, which grows about 1.5 million pounds of organic leafy greens annually, also raises farmed Atlantic salmon and steelhead trout at its 160,000-square-foot aquaponics facility, which it calls “the largest of its kind in the world.”
Aquaponics is defined as a recirculating hydroponic plant production system in which plants are grown in nutrients originating from waste water where fish are raised.
The Certified Non-GMO by AGW label guarantees food is produced without the use of genetically modified feed, supplements or ingredients, “and ensures that at no point in the growing, processing or manufacturing of the product will GMOs enter the system,” AGW said.
For farmed salmon, the Non-GMO label also includes AGW’s Salmon Welfare Certified standards, incorporating the UK RSPCA’s welfare standards for farmed Atlantic salmon.
Superior Fresh was certified organic by EcoCert ICO in October 2017 for its aquaponic crops. The USDA does not have an organic standard for seafood.
“In the absence of a USDA organic standard for seafood, we chose to obtain the AGW certifications for salmon welfare and GMO-free to assure our customers that we meet their standards,” said Superior Fresh President Brandon Gottsacker.
The move by Superior Fresh comes as production of the first GMO salmon by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. is underway in a grow-out facility in Indiana. AquaBounty plans to harvest the first GMO salmon from the Indiana facility in the fall of 2020, then market the fish to supermarkets nationwide but not with a consumer-facing label indicating it is genetically engineered.
The company’s AquAdvantage Salmon is genetically engineered with a Chinook salmon growth hormone gene and an antifreeze gene from an eel-like fish called the ocean pout, which makes the fish grow twice as fast as its non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon counterpart, reducing the time to market from three years to 18 months.