Genetically Modified Salmon? Oy.

It’s no secret that I’m an advocate of fish as part of a healthy diet.  And, of course, as more people eat fish, we risk depleting these resources.

And yet…I truly believe that the new genetically engineered salmon that are up for approval by the FDA are the wrong way to go.

Just like with GM crops, there hasn’t been formal study of long term impacts on humans. And there are a lot of people with very strong opinions about GM foods overall. But just for fun let’s just table the debate over the health consequences of GMOs for a minute, and consider the

These GM salmon grow many times faster than regular salmon, which will certainly have an impact on their environment because, well, they’re eating much more. Gotta love the environmental impact assessment…essentially, there isn’t one. These fishies are set to be grown in Canada and Panama. And in their infinite wisdom, FDA wrote:

As the proposed action would only allow production and grow-out of AquAdvantage Salmon at facilities outside of the United States, the areas of the local surrounding environments that are most likely to be affected by the action lie largely within the sovereign authority of other countries (i.e., Canada and Panama). Because NEPA does not require an analysis of environmental effects in foreign sovereign countries, effects on the local environments of Canada and Panama have not been considered and evaluated in this draft except insofar as is was necessary to do so in order to determine whether there would be significant effects on the environment of the United States due to the origination of exposure pathways from the production and grow-out facilities in Canada and Panama.

Yep…since it’s not happening in the U.S., we don’t have to figure in the environmental concerns of local ecosystems. Because our environment is so very smart, there’s an imaginary line and net between the U.S. and everywhere else that keeps us insulated and safe.


And, one thing keeps kicking around in my head. To keep the GM fish them under control, all these GM salmon will be female and kept away from normal fish.

The FDA writes:

“…there are no specific data demonstrating that triploid AquAdvantage Salmon are indeed sterile, that is, incapable of producing viable offspring; however, as discussed below, there are several reasons why this is believed to be the case.”

And they do go through a bunch of scenario of why, on paper, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Great. Except we’ve already seen that frogs can change gender when exposed to certain pesticides.  To be totally clear, that obviously doesn’t mean the same thing will happen here, and yet it also means that we can’t know for sure how something will play out, if the fish escape or if there’s vandalism. Even if an accident happened once, normal salmon could well be a thing of the past.

This is a good read from Marion Nestle

Am I the only one bothered by this? Hopefully not. The FDA has a comment period that is open until April 26th

There are also a bunch of sites with petitions so you can just sign your name rather than write something in depth.

I usually only write about health news and concerns on my other website and keep this for recipes and such, but I feel it’s important for people to be aware.

About Cheryl Harris

Life played a funny trick on me. I've studied nutrition for years, and much to my surprise, found out that I could manage many of my health issues via diet. I've been GF for years, and I've got a bunch of allergies and sensitivities. But it definitely doesn't keep me from cooking, baking and enjoying my food. Thanks for stopping by.
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4 Responses to Genetically Modified Salmon? Oy.

  1. Thanks for the info and the link to make a comment! To protect our natural resources and keep GMOs out of our lives, we need to be aware but also DO something about it.

  2. I totally 110% agree with you on this one, Cheryl! Why do they need to mess with our fish? Can’t we just leave the wild to the wild (except when we want to eat it of course). There’s a huge movement here in Alaska to stop them from creating/releasing frankenfish (at least that’s what it is being called here). I value the fresh wild salmon in Alaska. It’s one of the constant foods I can depend on. I hate that it might be jeopardized because someone wants to earn a few dollars. I’ve signed a few petitions and I will continue to sign as many as I come across…

  3. Kate,
    Absolutely! Often we think and talk and get all excited, but then don’t follow through.

    That makes perfect sense–I’ve only had the pleasure to see real wild salmon swimming once out in CA and I bet that living in Alaska gives you an even greater appreciation for their beauty and importance.

  4. Donna says:

    Thank you. I hadn’t heard about this and did post a protesting comment on their website. More flying by the seat of your pants and power of the corporations are going to kill us all..or make us glow in the dark! LOL I asked if the research included all the Round Up already running off in the water.

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