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Salmon Sellers Will Tell The Truth

Two of the nation's largest grocery chains have agreed to note on labels that their farm-raised salmon was artificially colored pink, a lawyer suing the companies said.

Kroger Co. and Albertsons Inc. still face lawsuits accusing them of deceiving the public. But their decision to note the added color is a "wonderful victory for consumers," said Paul Kampmeier, an attorney with Smith & Lowney, the firm that filed suit last week in Seattle against the supermarket giants.

"The grocery stores are now doing what they should have done years ago," Kampmeier said Wednesday.

Despite the changes, Kampmeier said his firm plans to follow through with the class-action suit filed in King County Superior Court, which seeks unspecified damages against the nation's three largest grocery chains. Kampmeier said he has not heard from Safeway Inc., the third company sued.

"Millions of consumers were damaged by the grocery stores' practice of failing to label, and we intend to prosecute," Kampmeier said.

Kroger, the nation's biggest supermarket chain, said Tuesday that it will modify its labels.

"While the supplements do not affect the taste or nutritional value of the fish, we are modifying the product labels to share this information with our customers," said Keith Neer, a spokesman for Cincinnati-based Kroger.

Kampmeier said an attorney for Boise, Idaho-based Albertson's told him that the company would change its policy as well.

The flesh of farmed salmon is naturally gray. Wild salmon's brightly colored flesh is the result of the fish eating krill or other small crustaceans, says the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association, a trade group.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has required "artificially colored" or "color added" labeling on products containing such color additives since 1995, although the chemicals have been deemed safe for consumption.