GM salmon approved as 'safe' in US

January 2013
Salmon Sashimi for Sushi
Photo by Michael Kappel on Flickr
No festive season would be complete without some GM 'bad' news being slipped out. Almost buried under the rush to prepare for Christmas was the announcement that GM fish have cleared the first hurdle on their way to the dinner table.

Nearly a quarter of a century after its creation, GM super-salmon have been approved 'safe' by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These novel fish have artificial growth-hormone genes inserted so the don't stop growing with the seasons and reach full size in half the time taken by their natural counterparts.


Earlier in December, the results of a Scottish experiment on another species of fish appeared in the news. It seems that if these fish grow too fast too soon, their life-span is substantially reduced. As the Professor who carried out the study described it:
“You might well expect a machine built in haste to fail quicker than one put together carefully and methodically, and our study suggests that this may be true for bodies too ... It appears that bodies which grow quickly accumulate greater tissue damage than those that grow more slowly”. 
He also said that, since the manner in which organs and tissues grow and age is similar across different kinds of animals, the findings may also apply to other species.

Premature death in livestock such as salmon isn't a problem, because we eat them long before they get to that stage. However, the accumulation of tissue damage is a concern: it means the GM fish we will be eating may be in the early stages of disease, or be susceptible to infection.

Note also that the safety of food intrinsically spiked with animal growth-hormone remains open to question.

Realistically, since “hostility to GM crops is likely to be dwarfed by the opposition to GM animals” (Conner), even slipping this decision through just before a major holiday will not be enough to get these fishy fish into the shops unnoticed.

Also, the American public in several States is already smarting from the biotech PR tricks which have so far defeated its calls for GM food labelling (see NO GM LABELLING FOR AMERICA ...YET - November 2012). Fishy fish may well be the last straw.

Never doubt that the propaganda bulldozer is already pushing GM fish your way. Already, we're hearing the inevitable suggestions that GM salmon will be cheaper and more efficient to produce, and that we won't be able to compete without them, and that other GM animals (pigs and cows) are due any day so you'd better develop a taste for them ...

OUR COMMENT

The right to know what's in US food may have been smothered by biotech industry dollars, but each initiative has raised awareness: GM food labels have been kept at bay, but public indignation won't go away so easily.

Say NO to GM fish!

If you want some more reasons why, check out:
THE GM SALMON SAGA - February 2012,
DRUGS THAT SWIM - GMFS Archive, November 2010
FREAKY FISH - GMFS Archive, November 2010

SOURCES:
  • Steve Conner, Ready to eat: the first GM fish for the dinner table, and This breakthrough could be the first of many, Independent, 24.12.12
  • Rapid growth in early childhood linked to early death, Aninews, 12.12.12

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