The first genetically modified animal could be on American plates within two to three years, according to a UK Telegraph article. FDA scientists have dubbed AquaAdvantage salmon, claimed by its developer –AquaBounty Technologies – capable of growing at twice the normal rate, as safe to eat and no threat to the environment. A coalition of 31 U.S. organizations disagrees, and is urging the FDA to deny approval of the controversial fish, which remains undecided until after a three-day adviser meeting that starts September 19.
GAP’s TV show Whistle Where You Work recently discussed the unknown consequences of genetically engineered food – and this salmon specifically. Check out the video below.
Aside from incomplete data on the consumer health impact, a major concern shared by consumer and environmental groups is the effect of escaped GM salmon on wild populations, which are already endangered. GAP coalition partner Food & Water Watch asserts that, despite AquaBounty’s claim that it will raise the fish in land-based facilities, the move will set a precedent for corporations racing to produce GM fish in their open ocean pens where “millions of salmon currently escape from every year.” In addition, AquaBounty is taking advantage of the lack of labeling requirements currently in place to let consumers know they are eating something that has been altered genetically. Consumers’ right to know is in jeopardy.
Sarah Damian is Communications Manager for the Food Integrity Campaign.