Just when we were worried that genetically engineered fruits and vegetables weren’t enough “fakeness” in our diets, the FDA may be allowing us to start eating genetically engineered salmon–appropriately nicknamed “frankenfish.” The worst part? It won’t be labeled so we’ll never know that we’re eating it.
The good old Food and Drug Administration has determined genetically engineered salmon won’t impact our bodies or the environment, even after a 60-day debate over the health implications of putting lab-engineered fish in our mouths.
Here’s how it will work: A biotech company in Massachusetts called AquaBounty created a new breed of fish called the AquaAdvantage salmon. Essentially, it’s an Atlantic salmon with an added Pacific salmon gene. Why? For more money, of course. This newly engineered fish will grow twice as fast. More fish, more money. And, it also includes an added eel gene to make it grow year-round. Hooray for us.
Initially–and rightly so–critics were worried that such salmon would cause more allergies or other harmful effects than any other breed of fish, but now certain experts are saying it isn’t so–or at least not any more harmful than other genetically engineered foods.
“The hard science part is that we have been creating [animals] using genes and natural selection for years to genetically predict what kinds of food animals, and recreational animals and such we have on our planet,” explains Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
He went on to explain why we shouldn’t be concerned about this:
“When Farmer Jones did it in his cornfield to try to get a better crop, it didn’t bother people,” Schaffner said. “When scientist Jones did the same thing in a much more sophisticated fashion in a lab, that does bother people.”
That may be true, but just because others have done it in the past doesn’t mean it’s still the best–and healthiest–policy.
And here’s the real kicker: The FDA likely won’t require a label that says the salmon was genetically modified, so we will never know what we’re eating. That’s simply not right. It’s deceiving and misguiding consumers who care about what they are buying.
Tell us if you agree!