That’s right. GENETICALLY ENGINEERED SALMON – FRANKENFISH! - will soon be available – like in 18 months – for you to serve for dinner if FDA approves it on September 17th. ** See below for undated info on hearing dates**
That’s ONE week away!!
Wait. You hate fish? You don’t like salmon? This is not just about salmon. It’s about biotechnology. It’s about fooling with nature. It’s about our food supply. There are many articles about the genetically engineered (GE) salmon itself but I have a bigger issue with this. It may apply to you too. Read on.
What does that mean? Let me rant…..
I heard about this genetically engineered (GE) salmon or “frankenfish” technology that Aqua Bounty Technology (ABTX on London’s Stock Exchange) was trying to push the FDA to approve back in August. I scoffed at the idea because, I naively thought, “Pffft. Who, in the right mind at our government, would approve this?” Man, hit me over the head, will ya, because I couldn’t have been more wrong! I’ll get to the actual franken-salmon thing later but FDA is actually considering approving this technology?….to “invent’ new species for us to consume as food…to create a brand new species for us to eat, because you know, we are “running out of food” to eat?
Jurassic park, anyone?
So, if you thought this doesn’t apply to you because you don’t eat salmon, think again because this technology, if approved, will entice more companies, if not already, to invest millions of dollars into developing genetically engineered meats like pigs, chickens, lambs, and what else? Do I foresee even ‘genetically engineered humans’ for our future consumption? Or how about just a chunk of meat-looking-thing for sale in the meat section at your local supermarket? That is so totally disgusting and so wrong on so many levels that I can not believe I even typed the words here. It makes me nauseous even thinking about it. But you know what? I thought ‘that’ back in August about salmon! This is a total “Brave New World” crap! It’s bad enough that we are dealing with GMO’s in foods that sneak into cereal boxes and cookies that we feed to our kids. And now, we will be eating fish fillets that are laden with growth hormones and two different species of fish that was forced to grow twice the size of a normal fish? My hubby keeps telling me about this movie called, “Soylent Green” with Charlton Heston that was released in 1973. He says the movie is not too far from what’s going on right now with big corporations controlling what we eat for profit. It’s all about this type of big conglomerates controlling our food supply at its worst! I don’t think I need to watch it to know what the movie is about but the movie was made in the 70′s and talk about life imitating art!
OK. Before I pop my second vein, let me tell you some facts that we are “allowed” to know….because, you know, some things are, ummm…..”p.r.o.p.r.i.o.t.a.r.y.” *air quoting and rolling eyes in disgust*
What are the facts? (my thoughts in parenthesis):
- Aqua Bounty Technology (ABTX) or Aqua Advantage® based in Waltham, MA has invested 50 million dollars in the last 14 years to come up with this transgenic technology and is in line to make millions more, if not billions, if FDA approves.
- Transgenic or genetically engineered salmon has combined genes from Chinook salmon (to produce growth hormone) and eel-like, ocean pout (to produce antifreeze protein) which will make salmon produce growth hormone ALL THE TIME. Normally, salmon produces growth hormones only during the warmer weather and the production turns off during the cold temperatures, hence, longer time for it to grow to its adult size. But frankenfish will grow bigger in half the time, like in 18 months vs. 3 years. (…yielding more money faster for the bang!)
- Purdue University and The National Academy of Sciences report that transgenic fish released into the ocean can threaten the natural habitat and destroy the natural population to extinction. (…because frankenfish would be more aggressive and take away the food supply from other fish. And although ABTX says GE salmons are sterile and will not be able to escape, Purdue University indicated that farmed salmons escape and get released into the wild all the time and GE salmon will create a new species altogether when the “supposed” sterile females mate in the wild. How many times have we witnessed botched up science experiments? Are they willing to guarantee that ALL of them will be STERILE? I don’t think so.)
- ABTX has been testing the same technology in trout and arctic char in its Prince Edward Island farm facility. (..and what else are they experimenting with? I read somewhere shrimps are also being used for this purpose.)
- The FDA ONLY has the data from ABTX for this approval process. (Isn’t that kind of unethical? Conflict of interest, anyone? Why don’t they consider other research findings, like Purdue University’s too?)
- The FDA’s 60 day public hearing ends on September 20th (see below for details) - a period when we are allowed to voice our opinions through e-mails and phone calls. (How sneaky are they to keep the public in the dark and give us only 60 days to respond when it took ABTX years to prepare for this big shebang?)
Why am I opposed to genetically engineered salmon?
I’m sorry but genetically engineered a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. is not what I want to put in my body nor into my family’s bodies, hence my opposition to Monsanto. I’m not a geneticist or a veterinarian but there is something wrong with a grotesquely large ‘man made’ fish that was from two different species of fish. Although I don’t eat that much fish anymore but when I do, I don’t want to wonder it it’s the real thing or some scientific experiment. And how about my kids? How much of this type of scientifically invented petri dish foods will they eat throughout their lives when we are starting to feed them now? What will happen to their own genes and health of their bodies when they are at our age? How will their cells respond to all the genetically manipulated proteins and hormones laden foods they’ve eaten all these years?
Sure, the company says the GE salmon is just like the real salmon and there’s no difference in the nutrients and taste. But how about their protein make up? Their genetic make up? The company says even the genetic make up is the same but didn’t they say that they used TWO different genes from TWO different species of fish? How could the genetic make up be the same as the Chinook salmon?
What do you think?
Would you eat this fish? Would you eat anything that was grown with this type of technology? It’s not happening just to fish. It’s happening with corn, soy, barley, and on produce farms right now. But these are still considered as experiments. There’s no long term effect studies on humans ingesting these types of animal foods. Even the scientists at Purdue University say it.
Still not sure? How about this analogy, then? Sports. If this was a sporting event, (unlike to some, it’s not a life-and-death situation like eating, in my book.) steroids and growth hormones would definitely be considered as disqualifying factors. Are they not? I mean, didn’t Roger Clemens just get indicted for perjury for lying about steroid use while playing for the Yankees? Didn’t athletes get their medals taken away from the Olympics because of doping? How is it that it’s NOT OK for athletes to use performance enhance drugs but we can ingest them from foods?
What is the FDA thinking?
So, why is the FDA trying to approve the technology, allowing artificial means of creating foods, allowing overabundance of growth hormones to exist in the foods and saying it’s safe for us to eat them? If it is “SAFE” to eat it, why is the FDA involved in “approving” them? It’s because they are using drugs on animals. It’s because they are not natural. It’s because they ‘appear’ to be safe. It’s because they ‘appear’ to be the same as the natural thing. And we know how accurate FDA has been in approving supposedly ‘safe’ drugs and later recalled after numerous deaths have been reported. Furthermore, when something goes wrong with this technology, how many fingers will be flying, trying to find blame? …at our expensive, too boot!
Do I trust the FDA if they approve this? NOPE.
Do I want to eat ANY fish if the FDA approve this? NOPE.
Do I want to eat ANY animal if the FDA approve this? NOPE.
My last words…
My husband’s family is from the Pacific Northwest, you know, the “Twilight” country? Well, people from the Northwest are very proud of their forests and their fishing. There are no substitute for wild caught Alaskan King or Chinook or Coho salmon. The annual salmon runs are big events in town. More people have salmon smokers in their backyards than BBQ grills. There are fish hatcheries where they help salmons to hatch and release the young into the wild. I used to be able to go to a nearby fishing dock and buy the freshest, just caught salmon, right off the boat. It’s true that it’s not so easy anymore. The salmon population has been dwindling. But, I think those fishermen will still tell you that even with the dwindling supply, genetically altered salmon is sacrilegious and is not the answer to the shortage supply of salmon. Even though ABTX claims to have solved the salmon shortage problem with the technology, it will actually kill the salmon industry, wild or farmed, because people, like myself, will be skeptical of eating ANY salmon since these GE salmon will not be labeled as such.
So, what can we do?
Let me leave you with links where you can read more on this issue. I’ve been reading, reading, and reading on this that it’s taken me three days to write this. I kept searching and reading and hoping, ‘What if it IS the same? What if it IS safe?” I assure you, they are NOT the same and it’s highly questionable that it’s safe.
(I was going to add the link to Aqua Bounty here but they don’t deserve my link)
Finally, here is the Q & A from Greenpeace
Oh, if you want to learn what GMO does, read what Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says here.
And if you are mad as hell like I am, here are some links where you can go and yell and holler like I did. Share this post with all your contacts and have them yell too. Tweet this post (button below) and share it on your facebook wall (icons are below the post). You can even repost this on your blog (link it back so I know you are spreading the word) so your readers know what’s going on. Have them yell too.
If you think this GE technology is outrageous as I am, contact the FDA and e-mail them and let them know how you feel. http://www.fda.gov
Sign the petition and send a letter to Obama since he really has the ultimate power in the decision making process. http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org
Send this letter to FDA Veterinary Medicine http://action.foe.org who will investigate this application.
Don’t take my words for it. Do your research and be scared…because, I am.
Hearing Dates: from the FDA website…
September 19th – 20th, 2010 - the committee will receive an orientation on both general scientific issues surrounding genetically engineered animals and the statutory and regulatory constraints under which the agency must operate. On September 20, 2010, the Committee will consider issues regarding the safety and effectiveness of the new animal drug that is the subject of new animal drug application concerning AquAdvantage salmon produced by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. (http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/Calendar/ucm223823.htm)
Labeling issue hearing September 21st – The purpose of this hearing is for FDA to explain the relevant legal principles for food labeling and to solicit information and views from interested persons on the application of these principles to the labeling of food made from AquAdvantage Salmon. (http://www.fda.gov/Food/NewsEvents/ConstituentUpdates/ucm222601.htm)
November 22, 2010: No later than this date, submit written comments on the labeling of food made from AquAdvantage Salmon to Docket No: FDA-2010 -N-0385, identifying your comments by this docket number. Submit electronic comments to http://www.regulations.gov, or submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management, Food and Drug Administration, 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Received comments may be seen in the Division of Dockets Management between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday..