by Ethan A. Huff
September 10, 2010
Consumers may soon have a new "Frankenfood" to contend with as the
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
will soon decide whether or not to approve genetically-modified (GM)
salmon as food.
If approved, the GM salmon - known as
AquAdvantage - will be the first GM
animal officially authorized for human consumption in the U.S.
Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc., the
company responsible for the new "Frankenfish", has been seeking
approval for it from the FDA since 1995. By programming salmon genes
to continuously produce growth hormone, scientists from the company
have been able to make their engineered fish grow to full size in
less than 250 days, as opposed to the 400 days it takes for a
natural Atlantic salmon to grow.
This, they say, will improve the fish
economy and reduce environmental stress.
The company claims that the fish are sterile, pose no environmental
or health threats and taste just like the real thing, but not
everyone is convinced. In fact, previous studies have shown just the
opposite to be true.
are more likely to breed, then die off
In 1999, researchers from Purdue University found that transgenic
fish are more attractive to other fish because of their abnormally
large size. So more often than not, they beat out real fish in
attracting breeding mates, which can cause serious problems if
introduced into the wild.
The same study also found that the offspring of transgenic fish
live very short lives.
So over time, native fish will
eventually become extinct in the presence of even a few transgenic
fish. According to the university report, 60 fertile GM fish placed
in a population of 60,000 native fish could destroy the entire
native stock in as little as 20 years.
Despite claims that this could never occur because the fish are
sterile, many experts say that the DNA in GM fish will mutate over
time and cause them to be able to breed.
They could then spread their DNA to
other species, altering the genetic makeup of fish everywhere.
"Once you have bombarded an animal
with other genes, the DNA is unstable, and there is no guarantee
these fish remain sterile," explained Lord Melchett, policy
director at the Soil Association of the U.K., in a Telegraph
"It poses far too great a risk to
There is also no guarantee that the fish
will remain in their isolated growing pens.
Aqua Bounty insists that the GM salmon
will never escape into the wild and thus pose no threat. But once
approved, GM salmon will likely start popping up in ocean farm
fisheries where the likelihood of escape is very high.
Fish in these farming environments already escape into the wild by
the millions every year, so it is more than likely that GM fish will
do the exact same thing. And if GM fish begin to escape into the
wild, there is no telling the extent to which aquaculture will be
And there is no undoing it, either.
"[GM fish] can escape and mingle
with the native populations, pass on genetic traits, and their
presence will just continue to grow and grow. You can't
reverse it," explained Joseph Mendelson, legal director for
the Center for Food Safety, in a statement.
Like all GM
food, GM salmon is dangerous to health
According to a recent Reuters article, the FDA has failed to release
any of the safety data about Aqua Bounty's GM fish, so nobody can
say for sure what the health effects are.
But concerned groups say that, like
other GM foods, AquAdvantage fish may cause allergies, digestive
problems and other serious illness.
Current GE foods like corn and soy are already known to pose health
problems. Studies have shown that they are practically poisonous and
cause damage to internal organs and the immune system.
In animal studies, GM foods have even
led to death.
According to Dr. Michael Antoniou, a British molecular
scientist, GMOs lead to the,
"unexpected production of toxic
substances... in genetically-engineered bacteria, yeast, plants
and animals with the problem remaining undetected until a major
health hazard has arisen."
GM corn, for instance, produces its own
pesticide inside the corn kernel that repels pests. But this same
pesticide is consumed by millions of people every time they eat the
corn, leading to untold health problems that are slowly beginning to
To date, there have been no studies conducted proving that any GM
foods are safe for human consumption. And the studies that have been
conducted show that tampering with nature at the genetic level only
causes problems for people and the environment, not benefits.
GM goats, pigs
also on the horizon
Unfortunately, biotechnology's frightening addiction to genetic
engineering does not stop at crops and salmon.
Last year, the FDA approved a GM goat
for use in creating an anti-clotting drug called
Atryn. And Canadian researchers are
currently seeking FDA approval for GM swine called "Enviropig" that
allegedly produces environmentally-friendly manure.
And if Aqua Bounty gets its salmon approved, it already has GM trout
and tilapia lined up for approval as well.
Unless the citizenry loudly stand up and forcibly stop the
genetic re-engineering of the entire planet, such madness will
only continue. And if allowed to continue, genetic engineering could
eventually destroy the life of the entire planet.
The FDA is set to review and discuss the issue the weekend of
September 19, 2010. For three days, the agency will review data and
listen to input from outsiders about the issue.
Members of the public can actually register to attend the meeting
and share their thoughts in person.
To sign up, please visit the following
To express opposition to Aqua Bounty's AquAdvantage salmon online,
there, you can submit comments for Docket No. FDA-2010-N-0385.
Or, you can also mail written correspondence to:
Division of Dockets Management
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852