They’ve finally done it! Science has finally discovered yet another way to eff up our food system and after years of research and manipulation, government regulators are now gung-ho and ready to let genetically engineered fish (salmon specifically) enter our food supply.
Last Friday, the Food and Drug Administration’s concluded that genetically modified salmon would have no “significant impact” on the environment, quietly approving the first genetically modified animal for human consumption.
This “Frankenfish” (named by opponents) or AquaAdvantage salmon contains a growth hormone borrowed from the Chinook salmon and a genetic switch from the ocean that activates as an anti-freeze gene. Salmon that has been genetically modified can now produce the essential growth hormone even in cold weather that allows them to grow to market rate in 18 months instead of three years.
AcquaBounty, the company that’s spent millions on research and fighting to get approval from the FDA maintains, that the salmon will be safe to eat and have little environmental consequences, special interest groups aren’t buying it:
The New York Times reports: ““The G.E. salmon has no socially redeeming value,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a Washington advocacy group opposed to farm biotechnology, said in a statement. “It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment. F.D.A.’s decision is premature and misguided.”
Genetically engineered salmon have the potential to escape, compete with wiild Atlantic salmon for food or mates and have a detrimental impact on the environmental survival of natural salmon. Another concern is the potential cause for human allergies.
According to the federal guidelines, consumers will not have the benefit of knowing whether the salmon they buy in store or purchase at restaurants is genetically engineered or completely natural. AcquaBounty argues that genetically modified salmon will contain the same texture, flavor and color of convential salmon, baring no need for labeling.
The hurried release of the Environmental Assessment last Friday capped a frenzied two days behind the scenes at the White House and FDA. Within hours after the Slate article and leaked document were posted, an administration official notified the FDA that the administration was dropping its indefinite hold. “The White House had no place to hide,” said a government source. The “final” draft environmental assessment is identical to the document leaked to the GLP, but is dated May 4—two weeks later.
What do you think about genetically modified salmon?