From Raw Story:
Genetically engineered fish, AquaAdvantage salmon, or “frankfenfish,” depending on your viewpoint, are closer than ever to FDA approval, reported Newsy.
The salmon, engineered by the company Aquabounty, grow twice as fast as normal fish and “would be the first approved scientifically engineered animal for human consumption,” reported KTTU.
The FDA claims that the altered fish are as safe for the environment as any other fish, writing in a recent assessment that they “will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States,” reported the Christian Science Monitor.
Environmental groups fear that the altered fish could cause human allergies and escape and breed in the wild, which, they say, could lead to the end of natural salmon populations.
After a 60 day public comment period ends, the FDA will in all likelihood approve the salmon for sale and consumption.
If approved, the fish will likely not have to be labelled as genetically modified. [source]
Welp. Unless I can find a local purveyor of salmon, I’ll be hanging that up.
I just… I have so many questions about this.
And what about the salmon in the wild? What kind of effect will this genetically modified salmon have on the cost of what’s already available, and wild-raised? According to reports, AquAdvantage says that the aim is for all of the female GM salmon to be bred sterile, but they can’t guarantee that 100% of them will actually be so, with somewhere between 1-5% in limbo. What then? Since the aim is, apparently, for 15 million eggs to be created, we’re talking about 750,000 potentially sterile genetically modified fish. How likely does it feel, now, that these salmon could escape and breed in the wild with your wild-raised salmon?
In fact, I’m willing to bet that right now, your Whole Foods store has a little sticker on its seafood window that answers the question, “Why isn’t any of your seafood organic?” with some mumbo jumbo about how the FDA doesn’t regulate the phrase “organic” in terms of how seafood is raised, and that’s true. But, if genetically altered salmon is allowed to move forward to stores, will that change? And who will conduct regular testing to ensure that people who don’t want any parts of a genetically altered salmon don’t get any parts of one?
And, furthermore, what is this business about infection and jaw erosion? Erosion? Of a body part? And I’m supposed to eat that? Infection? Because handling that works out so well with cows? C’mon, man.
Can we talk about the money, too?
Salmon, naturally, is an expensive protein, regardless of whether it’s farm raised or wild-caught. This fish, though it only grows twice as fast, eats five times as much food. How does this affect its price? Five times the food is going into a fish that only grows twice as fast, not five times as fast. As a farmer, what’s the benefit of this? Buying sterile salmon that can’t procreate with itself, which means I have to continuously re-purchase eggs from AquaBounty; I’m using five times the amount of food and not getting five times the amount of fish; what is the benefit of investing in that? Even if no one other than AquaBounty farms the salmon (and, you can rest assured, the goal is to go far beyond that, even if it would be the case at first), how will it be profitable? Do they truly think people will pay more for a genetically modified product, when the original is already pricey enough per ounce of protein?
And, because this may make actual regular, naturally-raised, wild-caught salmon more of a commodity, will the price of that increase?
This quickly becomes a “why bother” type situation.
So, I guess the question to ask, is… how can we expect to find the good stuff now? Where do you plan to go to get your wild-caught salmon? Share the good spots, and help out your fellow clean eaters!