Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Disturbing Development - GMO Salmon

I came across this rather disturbing news item yesterday:

Modified Salmon: Miracle Food or "Frankenfish"? - CBS News

It seems the FDA has begun hearings on whether or not to approve the sale of genetically-modified salmon. An excerpt:

In the case of the salmon, AquaBounty has added a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon that allows the fish to produce their growth hormone all year long. The engineers were able to keep the hormone active by using another gene from an eel-like fish called an ocean pout that acts like an on switch for the hormone, according to the company. Conventional salmon produce the growth hormone only some of the time.

I don't know about you but I have no interest in feeding my family a fish that has been engineered to grow twice as fast as it's natural counterpart. Especially disturbing is the fact that the FDA may not require that this farm-raised GMO salmon be labeled as such, as the agency has said that this fish is not 'substantially different' from its conversational version. Not 'substantially different'...are you kidding me?! So it appears that our freedom of choice is being taken away from us once again. I can't help but wonder how much more pressure this will place on the wild salmon population as people begin to shy away from farm-raised.

I found the FDA's other assertions to be rather disturbing as well:

Because the altered fish has never been eaten before, [critics] say, it could include dangerous allergens, especially because seafood is highly allergenic. They also worry that the fish will escape and intermingle with the wild salmon population, which is already endangered. They would grow fast and consume more food to the detriment of the conventional wild salmon, the critics fear.

The FDA tried to allay both of those concerns Monday, saying the fish shouldn't cause any allergies not found in conventional salmon and that there is little chance they could escape.

Try telling that to the folks who have been trying desperately to prevent the invasive Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes.

Now you know how I feel. But would you eat GMO salmon?


  1. It's really scary. We need to stop playing God. Unfortunately, it seems we also need to stop eating salmon.

  2. I don't eat farmed salmon, period, worried about hormones in their feed: which means I rarely eat salmon.

    I'd like to add to the list:

    We have got to stop eating bluefin tuna. If we don't, there will be no more tuna in three years. Tuna is sustainable if it is not overfished.


  3. sickening, but not surprising... ugh. We don't even eat fish anymore unless we catch it ourselves, I used to buy those convenient flash frozen filets at Trader Joes but then they had bad publicity about their sources a few years ago.

  4. OMG, I saw an article when they were first talking about GM salmon. I thought GROSS!! Where will we draw the line? I think the answer is to practice sustainability, not modifying to fill our needs.

  5. I feel the same way you do about this and would never feed my family a GMO salmon. They are fooling around with nature and it will no doubt come back to haunt us and/or future generations.

  6. I highly recommend you to read Jonathan Safran Foer - "Eating Animals". The pratices of factory farming (the term applies to salmon as well, although we don't think of salmon as being "farmed") are just shocking. BTW chickens and turkeys already DO grow twice as big in half of the time. Read the book! I really think we need to be informed about the food industry and make our decisions based on what is true, not on what the industry wants us to believe... and planting a garden as you do is imho the easiest and most efficient way to rely less on the (GMO) food industry!

  7. I live on Vancouver Island where there are A LOT of of fish farms. And escapes happen ALL THE TIME. I also worked on a commercial fish boat during university. We caught ATLANTIC salmon ALL THE TIME. Escaped farm fish, when farm fishing was in its infancy......Little chance of escape? #&%^@#(*&#()@&*
    I say Bu**sh!!

  8. Wow this is scary. I think I will definitely not eat farm raised salmon any more, just I have stopped eating fish from the Gulf of Mexico after the oil spill. The FDA says it's safe, well, I'll just have to pass.