February, 2012 was the first time I wrote about genetically engineered salmon. And here we are again – genetically engineered salmon is being considered by the Food and Drug Administration. If you haven’t read the first blog, here’s the link: https://therightplan.com/?s=genetically+engineered+salmon
So, what’s happening almost a year later?
Genetically Engineered Salmon – A Quick History
Truthfully, genetically engineered salmon has been in the works for more than a decade. It’s called AquAdvantage salmon by the company AquaBounty. It grows twice as fast due to a growth hormone spliced into the DNA.
As of December 21, 2013 the government published a report finding genetically engineered salmon safe to eat with negligible impacts on natural fish populations. Now, a 60-day public comment commences. Then the FDA will make a final decision. If approved, genetically engineered salmon will be the first genetically modified animal intended as food to pass in the United States.
Opponents of the genetically engineered salmon note the release of the report on the Friday before the long Christmas weekend as “political”. The thinking is that perhaps people won’t notice. That may a bit cynical, but after almost two decades in the corporate business world, I’ve earned my cynicism and frequently find it to be fairly placed. But, I’m not entirely sure on this one, since there is a 60-day comment period – so, let your voice be heard.
Genetically Engineered Salmon – Is It Safe?
Truth is – they really don’t know. There’s only been one long term study of genetically engineered crops (which showed rats developed tumors). But this isn’t crops, this is animals. And there’s been no study. Although AquaBounty has noted private studies indicating genetically engineered salmon is safe (there’s a surprise), they haven’t made these studies public.
Next there is an argument concerning the genetically engineered salmon breeding with regular salmon creating hybrid mutations. AquaBounty states on their website that the genetically engineered salmon will only be sterile females grown in farms. So, they might be safe from mating but I’m just not sure that necessarily makes them safe to eat though. Again, the truth is, they really don’t know.
Finally, Congress blocked the approval for genetically engineered salmon back in 2011 due to serious health concerns. What has changed? I can’t find anything that indicates new research has been provided.
Genetically Engineered Salmon – Why?
The argument in favor of genetically engineered salmon is that we are overfishing wild salmon as people recognize the benefit of fish over other meats. I’m not sure I’d agree with fish is better than other meats. I think we get right back to the same factory farmed issue. Grass fed steak, wild salmon, both are extremely healthy. Factory raised steak has been shown to be unhealthy. Farmed fish has been shown to be less healthy. Why would genetically engineered salmon be somehow different from other farmed animals intended for consumption?
Another argument in favor of genetically engineered salmon is that we need it in order to feed the world. True, a lot of salmon is eaten around the world every year. And, although I’m not a proponent of farmed salmon, it seems to be keeping up with the demand. I know that the population is ever expanding, but I can’t find any evidence that we will truly be unable to meet demands. This claim is made in many articles, but where is the evidence? Please, send it my way if you find it.
The Question of Labeling
Once again, the question of labeling plays a role. California tried hard to require labeling foods with genetically modified organisms. But the fight was lost, mostly due to money spent. Big corporations spent $46 million to defeat labeling while proponents spent only $5.5 million. What are they really afraid of?
The government made all packaged foods list ingredients and people didn’t stop buying junk food. The government made all restaurants list nutrition information and fast food restaurants didn’t go out of business. How is putting additional information on a label going to supposedly increase our grocery bill?
I digress, sorry. Anyway, genetically engineered salmon won’t need to be labeled either. Currently, according to the FDA, genetically engineered salmon is the same as regular salmon. Not knowing what I’m eating or feeding to my children is scary to me. I want proper labels so I can make my own decisions.
Genetically Engineered Salmon – What Can You Do?
I just don’t feel comfortable being a guinea pig for corporate gain. If you are concerned that genetically engineered salmon is being pushed on the population without enough information, click the link below to sign the petition to stop genetically engineered salmon.