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Genetically engineered salmon: Ban it or label it?

GE fish reuters_b
Consumer groups Tuesday called for genetically modified salmon to be strictly labeled if it is eventually authorized for consumption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The demands came in the second day of testimony before an independent panel of veterinary scientists that is advising the agency on whether to allow the sale of the salmon, which would be the first bioengineered fish or animal destined for human consumption.

Environmentalists and food activists oppose the petition by the salmon's developer, AquaBounty Technologies Inc., calling it "Frankenfish." "The FDA is the same agency that's in charge of overseeing the egg industry, and we see how well they've done that job," said Sarah Alexander, outreach director of Food & Water Watch, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group. "The scary thing is, the FDA doesn't do its own testing of genetically engineered animals; it relies on information provided by the company that wants approval."

The advisory panel debated Monday whether to endorse the safety of the company's patented "AquAdvantage" salmon, which is genetically engineered to grow faster and bigger than regular fish. But instead, it urged the agency to require more studies to demonstrate the fish's safety. It offered recommendations aimed at fleshing out information, including the possibility that the fish could trigger allergies or other health problems in some consumers.

One panelist, Greg Jaffe of the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest, predicted after the meeting that the FDA would eventually approve the salmon, "but I don't think the agency's going to go quickly on this."

Consumer's Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, opposed the approval of the salmon, saying it has not been shown to be safe, and argued it should be labeled in the event that it eventually reaches the market. "FDA should require labeling to insure that any unexpected or unintended effects of engineering this salmon ... come to FDA attention," said CU senior scientist Michael Hansen. "Drugs approved by FDA as safe have turned out to have unexpected health effects after they were widely used by consumers."

The implication: Without labels,  how would consumers, if they experience side effects, know that they had eaten GE salmon?

Current FDA rules call for labels for altered food only when there is a "material difference" in the final product. The agency asserts that genetic engineering itself does not constitute a "material difference." In a preliminary report this month, the FDA declared that modified salmon "is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon," a widely consumed farm fish.

Craig Altier, an associate professor at Cornell University's College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the FDA advisory committee, also expressed concern that, if GE fish escape into the ocean, they could contaminate wild salmon stocks. "Containment of the fish is essential," he said, "as the release of this fast-growing animal could have devastating effects on native fish populations. We need to treat these fish as we would a potentially dangerous medicine or pharmaceutical, and apply all of the same security measures to its production and transport."

AquaBounty said it plans to raise the fish in inland contained facilities, not in ocean-based fish pens where farmed fish have been known to escape and mingle with wild stocks.

--- Margot Roosevelt

Photo: AquAdvantage salmon would be the first gene-altered animal sold for food. This handout photo, released Aug. 30, 2010, compares the size of its genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon (background) with an Atlantic salmon of the same age (foreground). Credit: Reuters/Barrett & McKay/AquaBounty Technologies

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Comments () | Archives (14)

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I rather not eat than to eat those genetically engineered salmon. It will do for me, if salmons got bigger through the feeds they eat, but if because of this, then I rather eat nothing.

In the dead of winter, even rats won't touch GMO food. When did we get dumber than a rat?

Do you like salmon? Do you think eating genetically modified fish is a good idea? Check out this TOP SECRET Taste Test party! Click: http://www.nickwarehealth.com/2010/09/23/gm-salmon-top-secret/ SPREAD GOOD HEALTH!

We'll all turn into zombies after eating the fish(those of us which are not already zombies). And then some sexy chick wearing tight leather pants will come kick our undead butts, and that's just for eating the fish.
Or we might develop cancer. They are developing new sources of food. Advancing science. Kudos to them. But the review process is badly flawed(who watches the watchers?) and way too short, they should take years of intense study to see if messin' with mother nature has adverse effects.

I love how the tofu lovers that are opposed to this eat enough genetically modified soy (in their tofu) for an entire country. If the FDA says this product is the same as normal salmon, then we should trust that.

But, free choice is free choice. I will personally choose to eat as much of this nutrient packed fish as I can. I will reap the benefits of the omega 3's, become smarter, and continue to enjoy life. As opposed to those who fear everything is going to kill them, eventually suffer from nutrient deficiency and waste away.

The choice is clear.

p.s. Why are people writing letters to fish?

Some corporations will not be happy until they have a barcode on everything and everyone. Just you wait, one day we and everything we eat, drink, wear, and say will all be some corporations "intellectual commodity".

We keep re-electing the crackpots who eviscerate Regulatory bodies, so the cash flow from US Craporations to the Dems and Repubs, flows like raw sewage from Malibu to the Pacific. The FDA (Fools and Dupes of All-businesses) is no different than the SEC, FAA, CFTC, USDA, FBI...NEVER DO ANYTHING that impedes the re-election of the corrupt. We will NEVER EAT this farmed garbage; want proof these ARE garbage fish? Just look how the Atlantic Farmed Salmon have beards of lice, longer than Santa's beard. How many anti-biotics and other chemical NEED to be used. How the pollution is so bad, they HAVE to move their pens to new, pristine areas. It takes 2 pounds of fish meal (from any other ground up fish, to put on 1 pound of salmon,.....let's face it, Congress IS CORRUPT, and the FDA is their finger puppet.

Ask A Orange

I talked to a orange the other day about the new plans to farm genetically-modified oranges.

I explained that humans - the billions of us, and especially us Americans -- feel that we are in dire need of faster, cheaper, more plentiful, more convenient but extremely tasty nutrition options. I conveyed that, since each of us requires pounds of organic nutrients daily to maintain our superior brains and stay in top shape as the earth’s most advanced and important species, we’d like to make a few changes for oranges. If it flies, we know orchards of other oranges to recruit to the new order.

We’ll revamp how and where you live, I detailed, how and where and when you grow (or not), how you grow and develop, and et cetera so that you can become perfect little orange fruit parcels, nearly ready for consumption. And if, in return for this great opportunity, you’ll just learn to fall onto our plates, that would be very convenient.

I told the orange that her kind would be pioneers, the fruit fish to live with no burdens and no worries, no purpose other than to be food, and no experiences other than to grow and be slaughtered.

No more flush and excitement of that silly seed system, no more competition to be your best, no more déjà vu seasonal growing, no more worries about eluding animals while hiding in the tree.

No more distractions from the jumble of smells, sights, sounds and sensations of nature. Instead, just a long growing season with a few thousand of her best girlfriends as they watch each other balloon from the effects of growth hormone genes.

Their cooperation, I explained, will allow us to live the rich, full lives that only we -- as humans -- so rightly deserve, to revel in the experiences of our beautiful world, and to follow the biological imperative of every living thing to survive, thrive and reproduce.

When I asked her what she thought of the plan, she merely goggled at me, her mouth no-existing. Stunned speechless, she was, by the honor of this great opportunity and her incredible good fortune.

Go ask a orange for yourself, and see what it has to say about the prospect of genetic modification, seedless sterilization and life in a orange farm orchard. Or better yet, just think about it for a while on your own and let the damned oranges grow while they still can.

BAN IT!!!! but if it get's through the weak sauce FDA, then smack a GM label on it.....i don't want to support, or eat, this sick tweaking of nature. just because we can do it, doesn't mean it should be done.

The woman who below posted her conversation with a fish needs some serious help.

Neither, just sell it to eat.

This is wrong. Now they are going to charge more $$$ for normal salmon by calling it "organic" while you get the GM salmon at todays price. It will only be a matter of time when a GM salmon mates with a normal salmon and once that happens bad things will happen because now it will get into the food chain. You are playing with mother nature. If she wanted bigger salmon then she would have created it.

We need to label it, and market it to Japan. Hopefully when they get to like it then they'll stop trying to wipe out the world's tuna and whale population for the sake of their food "culture" dictates

Ask A Fish

I talked to a salmon the other day about the new plans to farm genetically-modified salmon.

I explained that humans - the billions of us, and especially us Americans -- feel that we are in dire need of faster, cheaper, more plentiful, more convenient but extremely tasty nutrition options. I conveyed that, since each of us requires pounds of animal flesh daily to maintain our superior brains and stay in top shape as the earth’s most advanced and important species, we’d like to make a few changes for salmon. If it flies, we know schools of other fish to recruit to the new order.

We’ll revamp how and where you live, I detailed, how and where and when you spawn (or not), how you grow and develop, and et cetera so that you can become perfect little fish protein parcels, nearly ready for consumption. And if, in return for this great opportunity, you’ll just learn to leap onto our plates, that would be very convenient.

I told the salmon that her kind would be pioneers, the first fish to live with no burdens and no worries, no purpose other than to be food, and no experiences other than to grow and be slaughtered.

No more flush and excitement of that silly sex drive, no more competition to be your best, no more déjà vu epic journeys to find the ancestral spawning grounds, no more worries about eluding bears while fighting one’s way upstream against the bracing currents.

No more distractions from the jumble of smells, sights, sounds and sensations of nature. Instead, just a long tepid bath with a few thousand of her best girlfriends as they watch each other balloon from the effects of growth hormone genes.

Their cooperation, I explained, will allow us to live the rich, full lives that only we -- as humans -- so rightly deserve, to revel in the experiences of our beautiful world, and to follow the biological imperative of every living thing to survive, thrive and reproduce.

When I asked her what she thought of the plan, she merely goggled at me, her mouth opening and closing silently. Stunned speechless, she was, by the honor of this great opportunity and her incredible good fortune.

Go ask a fish for yourself, and see what it has to say about the prospect of genetic modification, sterilization and life in a fish farm tank. Or better yet, just think about it for a while on your own and let the damned fish swim while they still can.


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