The FDA has placed genetically modified salmon on its plate and is currently contemplating approval of the altered fish for human consumption. Unfortunately, the samples received were too flawed to allow for a sure decision. Now what?
GMO Foods: Fish of the Future?
Business Week reports that AquaBounty Technologies links its genetically modified salmon to pollution reduction and an end to overfishing. As far as the FDA’s Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee is concerned, this latest example of genetically modified foods features the same nutrients as farmed Atlantic salmon. The only difference, if the Frankenfood’s makers can be believed, is the rapid growth of the salmon.
Rather than waiting three years to grow the fish to full size, the genetically modified salmon only take 18 months. Unfortunately there is a bit of a fly in the ointment; by its own admission, the FDA acknowledges that there are “uncertainties” with respect to the salmon’s allergenicity, which are due to the “low quality of the study.”
Enviropigs: 60 Percent less Phosphorus in the Manure
The enviropig is the response to the average hog that produces roughly 450 kilograms of waste in a six-month period. The Star explains that a reduction of phosphorus in pig manure by 60 percent puts an end to freshwater contamination, algae blooms and fish deaths. The genetically modified porkers feature a bit of mouse DNA to make the change. This places the pigs into the genetically modified foods category, and thus requires FDA regulation.
Purple Tomato: High in Anthocyanins and Made-to-Eat GMO Foods that Promote Health
Science Daily outlines what happens when scientists combine snapdragon and tomato genes: They grow genetically modified foods that are purple and contain lots of anthocyanins, which are said to provide cancer protection. While it is true that these types of Frankenfoods would be a godsend for consumers who simply fail to eat the recommended numbers of fruits and veggies, it is possible to have too much of a good thing.
Will the FDA Give the Super Salmon the Go-Ahead? Should it?
It is questionable whether the FDA will give its blessing to the fish. A crop being one thing, going up the food chain and dealing with animals is another. In addition to the sample problem and its insufficiency to answer questions about allergens, there is the very real danger that genetically modified fish may escape.
As a result, they would likely cross-breed with wild salmon and then produce a faster-growing offspring that will proceed to crowd out the other naturally occurring specimens. Don’t think it could happen? Consider the infamous Glofish — genetically modified from zebra fishes with jellyfish or sea anemone DNA — that is illegal to own in a number of localities. Even so, GMObelus reveals that they keep cropping up as products of illegal imports in Ireland, the UK and the Netherlands.
How difficult would it be for a few genetically modified salmon to go missing on the way to market?
http://www.fda.gov/downloads/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/VeterinaryMedicineAdvisoryCommittee/UCM224762.pdf (p. 109)