For the last week or so, there has been a lot of news coverage about the controversy on the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption, salmon. Yes, genetically engineered, like fake or unnatural, for us to eat. This strikes me a little, or I’d rather say, very uneasy. Why? Well because eating fake food, especially fake animals, doesn’t seem appealing or healthy to me.
AquaBounty Technologies, has developed the AquAdvantage fish, which is an Atlantic salmon that has been given a gene from the Chinook salmon, and from the Ocean Pout that will make the fish grow twice as fast any another farm-raised salmon.
According to their website, part of AquaBounty’s mission is to “play a significant part in ‘The Blue Revolution’-bringing together biological sciences and molecular technology to enable an aquaculture industry capable of large-scale, efficient, environmentally sustainable production of high quality seafood…” Sounds poetic, right? More like they’re trying to produce all our food in science labs.
Although the Blue Revolution is a pretty cool name, there have been many concerns about what this revolution entails.
First off, is this fish healthy? According to the Arizona Repulic, the FDA’s scientist advisory panel says the fish is safe to eat. However, because seafood is already highly allergenic, some people are worried that the salmon can expose people to even more dangerous allergens.
There are also many advocate groups like Food & Water Watch who are asking government officials to oppose the AquAdvantage approval because they feel like the FDA is hiding facts from us. This is probably because the FDA is doing the decision-making to approve the salmon behind closed doors. And the information and research about the salmon is only provided by AquaBounty, which is kept confidential, according to the Arizona Republic. This exclusive decision making makes it difficult for independent scientists to verify if the salmon is really healthy or not.
There is also an environmental concern that people have about the salmon and whether they’ll escape into the wild to mate with other non-genetically modified fish, but luckily, the eggs used will only be of sterile female salmon that will be grown in tubes! Yey! (Hope you noticed my sarcasm). Yes, much of our other food has been grown on farms but like many advocate groups have been concerned, allowing this salmon to be sold for consumption, opens up the door for many other future genetically modified animals like cows and pigs.
Now the worst part of this is that if the FDA does approve the AquaAdvantage, the packages will not be labeled. Apparently, because the salmon looks and tastes just like wild Atlantic salmon and because it has the same nutrients, there is no need for a label.
Here is an excerpt from azcentral.com about this issue,
“”Extra labeling only confuses the consumer,” said David Edwards, director of animal biotechnology at the Biotechnology Industry Organization. “It differentiates products that are not different. As we stick more labels on products that don’t really tell us anything more, it makes it harder for consumers to make their choices.”
The FDA defends its approach, saying it is simply following the law, which prohibits misleading labels on food. And the fact that a food, in this case salmon, is produced through a different process, is not sufficient to require a label.”
Really? Extra labeling confuses consumers? So we should just trust corporate profit-motivated companies, who pump money into our government system, with the food that goes into our bodies? I don’t think so! No wonder why we don’t have enough funds for public education. Perhaps they want to dumb us down to make irresponsible decisions about what we eat and lack the effort to seek out for the truth.
I ask that you please look more into this issue. It could be very detrimental to our health and our future existence…or non-existence.