Monday, September 20, 2010

What do you think of genetically modified salmon?

The FDA is considering approving genetically modified salmon for sale in the United States.  It would be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption.  This particular salmon grows nearly twice as fast as a normal salmon due to genetic alteration.

Personally--I can live with genetically modified fruits, vegetables and grains.  I have resigned myself to the fact they are nearly impossible to avoid and perhaps necessary to feed our growing planet.  However, when it comes to animals, I draw the line. Critics are concerned about the possible decimation of wild salmon populations, food allergies, the health of the fish, and growth hormones.

My biggest problem is the possibility that if approved, the fish will not be labeled as genetically modified.  Producers do not have to label foods as genetically modified unless they are substantially different, and the FDA claims that this fish is not any different than its wild sisters in the Atlantic.  The biotechnology industry says that labeling would only confuse a population that does not understand genetic modification of organisms.  I argue that it is the biotechnology industry's job to make the case for genetically modified organisms, the FDA's job to protect the general public and my job to make any informed choice about what I eat.  I worry that this is only a slippery slope leading to the introduction of genetically modified pigs, cows and chickens. 

So what to do?  If you care--let the FDA know what you think.  Click on "Submit Comment" at the top of the page. 

My information for this post came from:
The Star Tribune
The Washington Post

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