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Safeway Restricts Purchases of Chilean Salmon

US - Safeway, among the largest supermarket chains in the United States, has restricted some purchases of farm-raised Chilean salmon over concerns about a virus that is killing millions of fish there.

A report in the New York Times, says that the supermarket chain decided late last month to stop buying from its supplier of Chilean salmon, Marine Harvest, because the virus for infectious salmon anemia, or I.S.A., was “impacting the quality of the product,” Brian Dowling, a Safeway spokesman, said this week. Mr. Dowling said the virus, which does not pose a risk to humans, was nevertheless affecting the size of the salmon, “which impacts the quality and the taste.”

After Safeway made its decision, Marine Harvest announced April 10 that Torben Petersen, its top executive in Chile, had resigned his post and left the company. Marine Harvest, based in Oslo, Norway, is the world’s largest producer of farmed salmon and has viewed Chile as a major expansion area.

Eleven of the 21 fish farms in Chile that have been affected by the outbreak are operated by Marine Harvest, which discovered the virus in July. The Chilean national fishing agency, Sernapesca, said Monday that the number of affected farms had risen to 21, and that 17 more were under observation, 13 of them Marine Harvest’s. Chile has 1,035 salmon farms, Sernapesca said.

View the New York Times story by clicking here.