The first time man started playing “God”, God put the hammer down, dispersed them, and made each -tribe if you will- speak a different language. GMO foods, -corn, soy, and I don’t know what else- poses health risks that are being ignored. Monsanto is a Hydra that has destroyed conventional, safe, farming methods. Now, this obscene gene-manipulating technology has invaded the animal realm.
I simply didn’t know how close the commercialization of GMO Salmon and other animals had come; this partially due to companies outsourcing their experimental herds away from the U.S. to other countries such as Brazil, where they can continue this procedure without interference from the FDA.
Tell the FDA: NO Frankenfish!
Please sign the petition to the FDA at the bottom of this page.
The first genetically engineered salmon – dubbed “frankenfish” – could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies’ GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply.
Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered “frankenfish” for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA’s Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon “flawed and inadequate.”
Please sign the petition (at the bottom of the page) if you agree that the FDA should reject AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon, at least until it completes further, more reliable safety testing.
What is frankenfish?
AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the “AquAdvantage” salmon by injecting a fragment of DNA from an ocean pout fish, which is a type of eel, along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilised Atlantic salmon egg. The result? A salmon that produces growth hormone year round, instead of only during warm weather. This allows the fish to reach market weight in just 18 months, instead of the usual three years.
What are the risks?
Potential harm to human health. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six GE fish. Even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, according to Hansen. AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.
Potential harm to wild salmon population. Only 95% of the AquAdvantage salmon may be sterile, the rest fertile. Plus, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will not be sterile. The FDA says the likelihood of the GE salmon escaping into the wild is “extremely remote” but gave little reassuring evidence to support that assumption. According to studies, the frankenfish eat five times more food than wild salmon, and have less fear of predators. All it would take is for some of these frankenfish to escape, and the world’s wild salmon population would be at risk.
Unlabeled. Without GMO labeling, consumers will not be able to avoid frankenfish when it arrives in grocery stores and fish markets.
Less nutritious. GE salmon contains less Omega-3 fatty acids than non-GE salmon. Omega-3 fatty acids are the “good” fat which has important health benefits.
(Watch the video of Alaska Senator Lisa Murkowski speaking against the approval of genetically engineered salmon).
The FDA’s 158-page Environmental Assessment was completed May 14, but was blocked from release by the White House, which waited until December 21 – well after the election.
The Environmental Assessment states that genetically engineered salmon will be adapted “to feeding on synthetic aquaculture diets.” The FDA didn’t explain what it meant by “synthetic aquaculture” or make any investigation into what the genetically engineered salmon would eat. Conventional farmed salmon can be fed byproducts from poultry processing, such as feathers, necks and intestines, and genetically modified soy and canola.
The FDA said that AquAdvantage does not pose a threat to the environment and is “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon.” But in its 5-page summary, the agency admits that it intentionally narrowed the scope of its analysis.
Since September 2010 there has been unprecedented pushback on plans to grow an engineered variant of farmed Atlantic salmon. Over 400,000 public comments in opposition have been sent to the FDA. Forty members of Congress called for a full Environmental Impact Statement before approval was granted.
Opponents argue that approval of frankenfish will pave the way for other genetically engineered animals for human consumption, which could raise serious questions about animal welfare.
The Ocean Conservancy opposes AquAdvantage salmon.
Intrexon Corporation owns a 48-percent stake in AquaBounty, the inventor of frankenfish. Intrexon is a biotechnology company focused on the industrial engineering of synthetic biology. Intrexon designs and produces novel and enhanced biological products and processes for protein production, agricultural biotechnology and animal science. The company boasts “unprecedented control over the function and output of living cells.”
- FDA Misses the Boat in Signaling Approval of Genetically-Engineered Salmon by George Leonard, December 22, 2012
- Ready to Eat: The First GM Fish for the Dinner Table, by Steve Connor
- FDA Quietly Pushes Trhough Genetically Modified Salmon over Christmas Break by Anthony Gucciardi
- The Apocalypse is Here: FDA Clears Way for Fast-Growing GE Monster Salmon, by Susie Cagle
- CU Says FDA Assessment of GE Salmon Is Flawed and Inadequate, by Michael McCauley
- Intrexon to acquire 48% stake in AquaBounty
We need to keep fighting the pro-biotech, pro-Monsanto politics of the Obama Administration. Help us send as many public comments to the FDA as possible to try to stop genetically engineered salmon. Direct action is going to be necessary, too. If the Obama Administration stubbornly continues to hide behind the scientifically discredited Bush-Quayle doctrine of “substantial equivalence” claiming there isn’t a “material” difference between genetically engineered and normal salmon, then we’ll have no choice but to use every tactic we can muster to throw a wrench into the gears of the Frankenfoods Express.
Please sign the petition today. And, please forward this action alert to everyone you know. Thank you!
EXCERPT FROM THE HUFFINGTON POST:
The True Cost of Food
It seems everywhere we turn there’s more scary news about the fish on our plates. Genetically modified salmon appears headed for supermarket shelves, even as a recent study revealed the salmon could escape into the wild and cross-breed, posing a huge environmental risk for wild fish populations. Another investigation uncovered the dirty secrets of the Thai seafood industry, a major provider of shrimp to the U.S, and one of the worst culprits for human trafficking. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. Ninety percent of all shrimp on American plates is imported from Asia, where it is grown on farms using high levels of antibiotics and chemicals that damage surrounding ecosystems, not to mention diners. And while salmon farming is being proclaimed as the way of the future, Monsanto too sees industrial aquaculture as a growing source of revenue for their genetically modified soy feed.
We can do better than this. There are healthy, sustainable fishing communities in our own backyard. So why, then, do we continue to support a seafood industry run on the backs of slaves? Why do we welcome factory-fed fish into our diets? Low food cost is the siren call. It was the promise of a lower cost, high profit protein source that makes Frankenfish seem like a good idea, and that never-ending shrimp buffet sure does taste good. When we turn a blind eye to where our food comes from in the name of convenience and price, we allow others to make our choices about what kind of food system we want to have. Ignorance may be bliss, but we can no longer afford to ignore the impact of our food choices.
Genetically Engineered Salmon
Proponents claims that GE fish will help meet the world’s growing demand for seafood — but it may be that the costs to ocean and human health far outweigh any potential benefit.
A New and Troubling Way to Farm Fish
Right now, the FDA, under the agency’s authority to review “new animal drugs,”i is considering whether to allow the production and sale of the first-ever genetically engineered animal for human consumption. AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. wants commercial approval of its AquAdvantage salmon, a farmed Atlantic salmon genetically engineered to grow twice as fast as natural salmon. The company claims that its fish will help meet the world’s growing demand for seafoodii—but it may be that the costs to ocean and human health far outweigh any potential benefit.
If the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approve the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption a new breed of farmed fish may soon be at your local grocer or seafood restaurant without you even recognizing it. If GE fish technology proliferates before we have answers to a host of critical questions, we’ll be gambling with the health of our oceans, the economic well-being of our coastal communities and the safety of our seafood supply.
Environmental Impacts of Genetically Engineered Fish
The environmental consequences of farming genetically engineered fish, including salmon, are not fully understood—but what is known is troubling. We know that farmed fish can escape their enclosures, whether they are in land-based tanks or ocean-based net pens.iii Escaped genetically engineered salmon are likely to compete with wild fish, including endangered Atlantic salmon, for habitat, food, and mates.iv Research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the release of just 60 genetically engineered fish into a wild population of 60,000 could lead to the extinction of the wild population in less than 40 generations.v There is still considerable debate about whether this “Trojan gene effect” would occur if AquaBounty’s genetically engineered salmon escape. But the company’s data, and FDA’s conclusions based on analysis of that information, indicate that up to 5 percent of the eggs may not be sterile.vi
Growing genetically engineered salmon in contained, land-based facilities, the initial step being considered by the FDA, does not alleviate these concerns. Some re-circulated water is eventually released into the environment, providing an escape route for genetically modified fish or eggs. Land-based facilities are also subject to natural disasters, human error, or intentional sabotage. The New Animal Drug Application process used by the FDA does not fully address the scope of the environmental damage that could result should genetically engineered salmon or salmon eggs escape containment.vii
Human Health Impacts: Are Genetically Engineered Salmon Good for Us?
Beyond the environmental concerns of genetically engineered fish, the limited data made public by the company suggest that the product may pose food safety concerns as well. These concerns must be thoroughly evaluated before genetically engineered salmon is approved for human consumption. Some of the differences between genetically engineered salmon and conventional salmon include:viii
Six chemicals (folic acid, niacin, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc) are present in genetically engineered salmon at values that differ by more than 10 percent from conventional farmed salmon, indicating potential food quality differences among the two kinds of fish.
The omega 3/omega 6 ratio in genetically engineered salmon is more than 12 percent less than in conventional farmed salmon, a difference that could be of interest to seafood consumers looking to maximize omega 3 levels in their own diets.
Data indicate there may be higher levels of allergy-producing compounds in genetically engineered salmon, meaning the fish may pose a greater food allergy threat. Given the limited sample sizes, more study is needed to definitively rule out this concern.
Levels of Insulin-like Growth Hormone (IGF-1) are elevated in genetically engineered salmon compared to conventional farmed salmon. The long-term health impacts of this are unclear, but IGF-1 is a known carcinogen.