As the public opinion has grown more and more frantic after the reveal of Aquaculture’s genetically modified salmon, talks of completely banning GMOs have been the go-to subjects in recent media. However, as FDA approves the genetically modified salmon, we have to ask ourselves what the affair is all about.
- Estimates claim that by 2030 two thirds of all seafood will be grown in farms
- The genetically engineered salmon will be sterile to prevent mating
- The salmon also contains genes from a different species of salmon and from the ocean pout
- FDA suggests GM salmon products should not be labeled
Even though the media has been buzzing with the controversy, some of you might not what the issue is all about. Well, I’m here to fix that.
A company called Aquaculture announced last week that it has developed a genetically modified type of salmon that grows larger than the ones currently being fished for, and has submitted the patent to the FDA. The scandal began with FDA’s approval of the GMO.
By inserting a growth gene from the largest known species of salmon (the Chinook salmon) into the Atlantic salmon (the most consumed species), as well as a gene from the eel-like ocean pout in order to ensure the animal’s continuous growth, the scientists from Aquaculture developed a new genetically modified organism.
The much larger fish, dubbed by critics “Frankenfish”, is 25% more effective in being converted into food than the regular salmon. It also grows continuously, unlike its non-modified counterpart which only grows seasonally.
Multiple groups are dismayed over FDA’s approval for consumption, threatening to sue any location commercializing the fish. This has prompted multiple units across the United States to refuse selling the product, even though they had already purchased it and stocked their inventory.
The main concerns are the possibility of the fish escaping and breeding in the wild, leading to potentially destroyed fauna, and the possibility of causing health issues in humans.
The FDA refutes the claims, retorting that over the 20-year study, no cases of human illnesses caused by the GMO were detected, and that the two GM salmon farms will take serious measures to ensure that the fish don’t escape into the wild. Not only that, but the salmon will be sterile, in order to make sure that even if an animal or a fertilized egg escapes, it will not mate with other animals.
Considering the facts presented to us so far, the fish should be safe to consume. Not only that, but considering the increasing world population and the decreasing food supplies, GMOs should be considered as a viable solution.