What exactly is frankenfish? The name sounds like a member of Frankenstein’s family. Yet frankenfish is simply a name for salmon, or rather, genetically engineered salmon.
According to Fish or frankenfish? FDA weighs altered salmon, Aquabounty, a Massachusetts company, is pushing to put frankenfish onto our dinner tables. AquaBounty’s CEO assures the Food and Drug Administration that the altered salmon is “safe and environmentally sustainable.” The interesting thing is the FDA is close to agreeing with him. Even more interesting is the idea that frankenfish “grows twice as fast as its conventional.” This growing fast phenomenon sounds vaguely familiar to the way that many cows are injected with hormones to make them produce more milk. Similarly, frankenfish would also be given a growth hormone that enables the fish to make “their growth hormone” continuously.
These days, genetically engineered foods almost seem to be commonplace. The Center for Food Safety indicates that this scientific process is happening at “an alarming rate.” Additionally, they point out that there have been many studies that these GEFs are not safe and can cause “serious risks to humans, domesticated animals, wildlife and the environment.” Some of the risks include allergic reactions, resistance to antibiotics and the possibility of extinction for some plants and animals. These are risks that some are worried about with the introduction of the frankenfish.
Yet, why are genetically engineered foods so popular? According to FDA Says Labels Won’t Be Needed for Products Made From Genetically Altered Animals, Barbara Glenn of the Biotechnology Industry Organization says genetically engineered animals allow “more efficient, more nutritious, higher quality and lower-cost sources of food.” Clearly, this view is consistent with a society that wants everything bigger, faster and better.
Even if the FDA does approve the marketing of frankenfish, I’m not sure if I want it on my dinner table. After all, how much do I trust the FDA? They have already dropped the ball on not requiring labels on genetically engineered foods. In fact, if approved, there’s a good chance consumers might not even know they are eating a frankenfish. In fact, as indicated by the Associated Press article, “current FDA regulations require modified foods to be labeled as such only if the food is substantially different from the conventional version.” Personally, I would like to know if the food I was eating has been altered. By not labeling foods, the FDA continues to keep consumers uninformed.
Thus, the next time I go to the store and have to choose between Atlantic salmon, or possible frankenfish, and wild-caught Alaskan salmon, I’ll stick with the latter.
Marie Clare Jalonick Fish or frankenfish? FDA weighs altered salmon The Associated Press
Todd Zwillich FDA Says Labels Won’t Be Needed for Products Made From Genetically Altered Animals webmd.com
Genetically Engineered Food centerforfoodsafety.org