In a case with major implications for the future of food, the FDA is poised to decide this week whether it is OK to sell and eat supersalmon whose DNA has been deliberately altered. It would be the first time genetically modified animals would be legal to sell for human consumption. So in the near future, the lox on your morning bagel might be something pretty different from what nature intended — and you might never know it.
It's been 15 years since the Massachusetts firm AquaBounty first applied for the ability to sell its genetically engineered salmon, which grow at a freakishly fast rate and thus take less time to flesh out into tasty coral-colored fillets.
The FDA has already said the fish are safe to eat; at issue is whether the manufacturer can label it as such. Also at issue: whether anyone will know they're eating genetically modified salmon. Current FDA regulations require GM foods to be identified only if they are substantially different than the natural version, and the FDA has said the "AquAdvantage" salmon is basically the same as its Atlantic sisters, according to the AP.
Consumer groups, including the agency that publishes the widely respected Consumer Reports magazine, say the FDA is relying on too little data and that its review process, which keeps some details confidential, is not transparent enough. Skeptics worry about Frankenfish-induced allergies and illnesses, because the fish have never been eaten before. Other critics fear that rampaging populations of fast-growing salmon, which grow at twice the rate of their normal brethren, might out-eat wild populations and starve them into extinction.
While most crops in the US are genetically modified in some way, so far, no one has been allowed to market genetically engineered animals for human consumption. But plenty of firms are waiting in the wings with designer pigs, cows and chickens, whose approval could be more likely if the FDA approves the GM salmon.
The altered fish include a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon and a gene from an eel-like creature called an ocean pout, which allow the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The Chinook and Atlantic growth hormones are the same, but the Chinook hormone is expressed differently, according to AquaBounty. Company officials say the fish are environmentally sustainable and that only females will be sold. They have three sets of chromosomes, making them sterile and thus preventing new families of mutant fish or interbreeding with native populations.
If the FDA approves AquaBounty's sale of the fish, it could be available in supermarkets within two years, AP reports.
didn't the Wraith try the same thing out on humans in Stargate:Atlantis? lol
"No, I'm simply saying that life, uh... finds a way."
I thought of that same quote too!
Famous last words - "Don't worry I know what I doing."
Genetically modified fish would be awesome if they spliced in its own seasoning, give it potatoes for bones and an anus that shoots draft beer.
Rising populations need more food... This is an answer.
I don't know about draft beer from some fish's anus...lol seems like it would be "skunky" bwhahahahaha
If this is allowed, it will be interesting to see how the Jewish community handles it. The ocean pout is not a kosher fish however, the salmon is.
current wild salmon has more mercury content than farmed salmon. If you increase the profitability of farming over fishing then more farmed salmon is eaten therefore less mercury is consumed. Furthermore, less fishing equals more wild salmon less impact on environment.
So, it is most ironic that the two main objections to this technology is the health effects and the environmental impacts when it is entirely possible that it is a viable way to increase health and reduce environmental impacts.
sales, costs, consumers, companies, money, money, money.
we don't need this as a specie, it's not medical, it won't save the world hunger, and won't make eating salmon cheaper.
they'll price those like real salmon and price real salmon more because they are real...
this is just a way for some people to get richer, and that won't be me...
they create a market for something we don't need.
Yea! Who wants to buy their salmon cheaper!? Thats just silly in a capitalistic society! Right?
GM foods should be labeled so that we can decide for ourselves if we want to buy and eat them. If they allow this fish to be introduced into the marketplace without labels the FDA is taking away our basic rights as consumers.
To help support mandatory labeling of all GM Food please consider joining the Food Bloc page on votingbloc.org.
You really want to know what makes me not want to vote? People asking me to vote.
Since I don't plan on mating with a salmon, I don't care that much about it's altered DNA. I have probably eaten a lot of stuff worse than that.
"The FDA has already said the fish are safe to eat; at issue is whether the manufacturer can label it as such" Wow- witness our government at work!
I couldn't care less if they market it as genetically altered or as wild salmon. Sometimes I wish other countries would just come up with these innovations before the US. If some other country completely pushed the US out of the market in salmon exports I'm sure the FDA wouldn't have any problem pushing this out to the masses. I think everything that we eat should be altered to grow faster and more abundantly. I can't think of a single reason why all consumable plants and animals couldn't be farmed to benefit us more while the wild animals are left alone.
I'm sure there are all kinds of ecological and environmental implication that I haven't considered, but if we cause any problems we can just fix it like BP did the oil-spill, right? (I'M JOKING in case that's not clear)
Besides, have genetically altered plants or animals that are used for food ever been shown to harm humans in any way? I'm asking because I seriously don't know.
Anyone who has an issue eating this fish is a moron - since DNA digests and all three species are edible. The protien and nutrients are roughly the same - meaning that as food, they are entirely safe. I wouldn't suggest a blood transfusion with one, but I don't think that is on the table anyways.
The legitimate concerns are environmental (outcompetition of wild species and overfishing of baitfish).
1) These fish transform more of what they eat into growth - meaning that the actual ratio of baitfish to salmon is actually better. Though there is risk that if salmon production is more profitable with these fish that the entire industry will swell.
2) In a case of out competition, the natural salmon would eventually win out. Requiring less food, due to their size, the natural salmon would be better adapted to surviving in a resoure deprivated environment.
3) Even if the US does not allow this salmon, other countries will. Since we all piss in the same ocean, these fish will eventually get out even if it is not us that releases them.
Everything that we have domesticated and successively bred for more desirable traits has been effectively genetically engineered -- although it was often purely by accident.
Grain, fruit and vegetable cultivars. Cattle. Sheep. Goats. Fowl.
How different is your roasted ear of white corn from the small, hard ear of tiny kernels the people of what is now Mexico were gathering about 7000 years ago? From the corn that was being cultivated in the Southwest US 2000 years ago? From the corn the Europeans were served 400 years ago?
7000 years ago, a guy holding one of his ears of corn and one of yours might have been afraid that your hellishly distorted, bloated and gigantic ear was unsafe. He might have thought that if he ate it his daughters would all be born with three glow-in-the-dark breasts and purple goatees.
There have not been sufficient long term studies to see how eating GMOs can affect human health.
And breeding plants or animals that have favorable traits is not the same as splicing genes. Some GMO plants have animal genes added to them. Anybody think that's natural?
Cross a horse with a donkey and you get a mule. Genes from two separate species.
Its traits are better suited to carrying a load, but would you not eat it if you were hungry?
Would you fear for your health?
STOP EATING ANIMALS.
The government requiring labels for GM foods is like requiring an ingredient history on the back of the box telling you where everything came from. Consumers who are concerned about purchasing GM foods should inform themselves rather than rely on the government to do it for them. After all, that IS your job as a citizen- to be informed and make informed decisions. Your job as a voter is to make an INFORMED decision about who would best represent the nation. And you can't tell the government that they should keep you informed on who is best for office. That's a vicious cycle. If we tell the government that we want mandatory stamps on everything, that's just one step closer to telling the government that we want them to tell us what to eat, what to drive, what job to do, and where to live. The government has become an infomercial for all of your seemingly difficult and mind-straining choices. Think for yourselves, people! You have access to more information more quickly than anyone in the history of the world, but you would rather force the government to collect, publish, and interpret it all for you.
If you don't like GM foods, know who uses what ingredients. The information is out there. Don't eat Kelloggs- there's about a 50% chance that their Frosted Flakes have GM corn. Fritos are the same, if not higher. The Govt. shouldn't have to do it for you. That's why they have USDA Certified Organic labels. If you don't trust the stuff in the store, buy organic or get over it.
Also, I agree with Oakspar on the "moron" comment. DNA can't hurt you, even if you injected it into your bloodstream. The body has DNAases (enzymes that break down foreign DNA). It's called a defense mechanism, and your body has hundreds of them. Foreign DNA doesn't just float around in the body. If it did, you really would be what you ate. We actually have to use chelating agents and ions to shut down DNAases in order to transform an organism with foreign DNA. Since GM food isn't riddled with chelating agents, I doubt you will be turning Salmon anytime soon (unless it's a scientific conspiracy!!). Besides, none of that matters after the acid-wash of your stomach.
The only cases of "allergies" or "adverse reactions" were with GM food altered with nut DNA and in people who were already documented to have NUT ALLERGIES. If you are allergic to an ingredient in a type of food, chances are you probably shouldn't eat that food. Same concept with GM foods, only that you actually have pay attention in High School biology instead of sleeping so you know that DNA codes for RNA which codes for proteins, which can cause allergies. If the DNA sequence for said protein is present, you will probably be allergic to said food.