Coming Soon — GM Salmon Might Remain Hidden From U.S. Consumers
After the FDA lifted its ban on genetically modified salmon, the only question remained as to whether or not the product would be clearly labeled for health-conscious consumers. We appear to now have that answer, as reported by the Associated Press. It also seems that the company that has produced the new supercharged creature is not willing to brag publicly about where it ends up.
AquaBounty hasn’t sold any fish in the U.S. yet, but it says its salmon may first turn up in places like restaurants or university cafeterias, which would decide whether to tell diners that the fish are genetically modified.
“It’s their customer, not ours,” said Sylvia Wulf, AquaBounty’s CEO.
Perhaps this should come as no surprise, however, since Canadians already have been eating AquaBounty’s unlabeled GM salmon for years. In 2017 it was reported that the company “has sold approximately five tonnes of genetically modified (GM or genetically engineered) Atlantic salmon fillets in Canada. This is the world’s first sale of GM fish for human consumption and has occurred without GM product labelling for Canadian consumers.”
“No one except AquaBounty knows where the GM salmon are,” said Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN). “The company did not disclose where the GM salmon fillets were sold or for what purpose, and we’re shocked to discover that they’ve entered the market at this time.”
As noted in the article from Associated Press, a recent move by Donald Trump might have paved the way for expediting the process of getting GM foods of all sorts past the prying eyes of concerned consumers, despite a clear insistence for transparency from those who have been polled on the issue. (Emphasis added)
This month, President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing federal agencies to simplify regulations for genetically engineered plants and animals. The move comes as companies are turning to a newer gene-editing technology that makes it easier to tinker with plant and animal DNA.
That’s blurring the lines around what should be considered a genetically modified organism, and how such foods are perceived. In 2015, an Associated Press-GfK poll found two-thirds of Americans supported labeling of genetically modified ingredients on food packages. The following year, Congress directed regulators to establish national standards for disclosing the presence of bioengineered foods.
But foods made with the newer gene-editing technique wouldn’t necessarily be subject to the regulation, since companies say the resulting plants and animals could theoretically be produced with conventional breeding. And while AquaBounty’s salmon was produced with an older technique, it may not always be obvious when people are buying the fish either.
The Center for Food Safety is actually suing the FDA for its role in approving the new salmon. The Center has been leaning on retailers like Kroger’s and Whole Foods to step up and protect consumers themselves. With this type of government and its compromised oversight agencies as the alternative, it most likely will remain up to grassroots activism to root out the source of our altered food sources.
Meanwhile, there should be equal mounting concern over the wider corruption of the ecosystem that can result if these new creations leak into the wild.
Canadian scientists have determined that if genetically modified salmon get into the wild, they will breed with wild fish and pass on their modified genes. The study also showed that the mutant offspring proved to be more aggressive than both the GM salmon and the wild fish.
The study published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society is the first of its kind to demonstrate environmental impacts of hybridization between a GM animal and a closely related species.
The study determined:
Through experimental crosses, we demonstrate transmission of a growth hormone transgene via hybridization between a candidate for commercial aquaculture production, GM Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar) and closely related wild brown trout (Salmo trutta).
Here is a graphic that illustrates the scope of the problem – first published in 2013:
It appears that the door is now wide open for us to discover the impact that this will have on the environment and human health.
Jason Erickson writes for NaturalBlaze.com. This article (Coming Soon — GM Salmon Might Remain Hidden From U.S. Consumers) may be republished in part or in full with author attribution and source link.
Image credit: Pixabay