Article: “Are You Ready for Frankenfish?”

frankenfish

I’ve made my position on GM food and the failure of our government to pass stricter laws  governing the labeling of our foods for GMOs pretty clear. The loss of Prop 37 in California last fall was a significant setback in the fight to give the consumer better choices at the supermarket by denying them a clearer idea of what they’re buying. That said, it put the issue of GMOs on the map and I’m hoping it will also help push our scattered food movement into a national force that will both educate and empower the public into making sound decisions based on facts.

We’re barely into the new year and already we’re faced with a major test of that fledgling movement by the latest FDA report on the safety of genetically engineered (or GE) fish. Talk of GE fish has been around for awhile now, but this new assessment by the FDA takes things one step further towards sanctioning the sale of these fish in your local markets. Consider that we currently don’t have a national (or state-level) law that regulates the labeling of genetically modified foods being sold in stores, and if deemed safe, you won’t know whether that salmon you’re purchasing for dinner is engineered or you know, real. How comfortable would you be with that blind taste test? I don’t know about you, but the idea of it makes me sick to my stomach.

What are the differences between GE salmon and fresh salmon? Emily Main from Rodale outlines the main points,

This man-made fish is an Atlantic salmon bred to contain genes of a variety of wild Pacific salmon called a Chinook salmon and from an ocean pout, a fish that resembles an eel. The combination of genes allows the fish to grow year-round, rather than only during spring and summer, as natural salmon do. And as a result, AquaBounty’s salmon grows to 24 inches long, rather than 13, and clocks in at an average of 6.6 pounds, rather than 2.8. (“Are You Ready for Frankenfish?“)

Main goes on to point out what I find to be the most horrifying part of this issue, and that is  that the FDA is testing the GE fish as a “new animal drug” and not as a food. So you have something that will be sold to the public as a food, but its safety for consumption won’t be assessed on the basis of it being a food item, thereby raising all kinds of questions about what exactly you will be eating.

The article also points to the environmental impact of GE salmon to the already endangered wild salmon population in the Atlantic. If these ‘frankenfish’ escape into the wild, how will fisherman control the damage to their farms if they’re able to breed with fresh fish? Altogether, the steps taken by the FDA to give credence to what many consider a harmful product, are egregious at best.

Credit: www.generationgreen.org
Credit: http://www.generationgreen.org

The good news is that there is a window of time where we can voice our opinions to the FDA and let them know what we think about their assessment on GE fish. You have until February 25, 2013 to express your views on regulations.gov by searching for docket number FDA-2011-N-0899-0002.

I consider these early stages of GE food research and subsequent push into the market a tipping point. You have an item that has a questionable impact on our health, economy, and environment which is crucial on its own. But I also find this to be and important question of ethics. Where do we draw the line between food and science? How far will we allow our ability to do dictate whether or not we should? If the day comes where we see GE fish approved for human consumption, what will be next? That’s what frightens me and that’s where I hope people will begin to really question what’s on their plate.

What do you think? Do you think GE fish will have a beneficial or harmful impact on our health and environment? Do you believe the FDA is correct in their findings? Is science going too far in their animal and food experimentation or not? Will you voice your opinion to the FDA directly? I’m curious. Drop me a line!

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14 thoughts on “Article: “Are You Ready for Frankenfish?”

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      1. No problem! All this is some crazy crap going on out there. While I was away we ate some rich foods, but NONE had GMO or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) it amazes me what passes for for in North America!

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  1. Craziness! I was shocked that the bill didn’t pass in California when I heard. Who doesn’t want to know what’s in their food for crying out loud?? Evidently a lot people don’t care. This country is on a slippery slope, unfortunately.

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    1. Agreed! I have to hope that we’ll draw a line somewhere soon. Thank goodness I live somewhere that affords me access to healthy, clean foods. And thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. Give the FDA a ring and tell ’em what you think!

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  2. I was really surprised that the bill did not pass in Cali. That would have been the beginning. Now I am not sure where this is all heading. Great post my dear 🙂

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    1. Thanks friend! I agree. It’s a sticky situation. I’m really curious to see what happens with these GE fish, but mostly it’s critical that we open this up to people so that they can learn more and talk about it, you know? Thanks again for stopping by! 🙂

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  3. Yikes, I can’t believe they are creating genetically modified fish now! I’m already pretty skeptical when it comes to fish at the market because I could never tell if that piece of salmon is REALLY salmon, but this is going to make me think twice!

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    1. Unreal, isn’t it? They’re still not on the market, but your best bet is to ask as many questions as possible and try to stick to organic and fish that’s clearly labeled as to origin, etc. Fingers crossed, GE fish doesn’t make it past the lab!

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  4. My frist concern when I heard about this is when these fish escape into the wild. It WILL happen. It always does. Genetically wild salmon will be gone in no time.
    And if these fish grow 12 months of the year they proably eat like crazy for 12 monthsof the year also. How will that effect the wild ecosystem?

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