Is it safe to eat?
The FDA concluded the salmon to be “as safe as food from conventional (farmed) Atlantic salmon.” While this might be debatable, considering that the genetic makeup of the fish is a new creation, and there have been no long-term studies conducted on humans actually consuming genetically engineered salmon, let’s suppose for the moment that the FDA’s conclusion is accurate.
Is being as safe as conventional farmed salmon such a great thing? Salmon has been widely touted for its prevalence of Omega 3 essential fatty acids. And it’s true that wild salmon has low levels of many of the contaminants found in other fish. But farmed Atlantic salmon is an entirely different matter.
Jane Houlihan of the Environmental Working Group comments: “Nearly all (farmed) salmon (that) Americans eat are grown in dense-packed pens near ocean shores, fed fish meal that can be polluted with toxic PCB chemicals, awash in excrement flushed out to sea and infused with antibiotics to combat unsanitary conditions.”
Many medical experts are already recommending reducing farmed salmon consumption to one serving per month or less. Compared to wild salmon, studies have found farmed salmon to have significantly higher concentrations of contaminants, including such lovely substances as PCBs, dioxins, dieldrin, and toxaphene.
If AquaAdvantage does come to market on a large scale, and if it does reduce the cost of farmed salmon, thus making it more widely available and more affordable, is this really a boon to a hungry world? Or might it be a recipe for even more cancer and environmental pollution?
What you can do
Tell the FDA what you think: If you are disturbed by the prospect of a solid green light being given to sale of genetically engineered salmon in the United States, now is a great time to speak up. The FDA’s comment period lasts until February 25. You can submit comments online, or sign petitions like this one.
Take action for labeling: Genetically engineered crops are already unlabeled, inadequately tested, and present in an estimated 75 percent of the foods in America’s restaurants and supermarket shelves. Surveys have found that as much as 93 percent of the American public supports the labeling of genetically engineered foods. Perhaps the prospect of genetically altered animals pouring onto American dinner plates without labeling will tip us over the edge from concern into action. To support labeling, sign the Food Revolution Network and Care2′s petition to Congress, or the Just Label It Campaign’s petition to the FDA.
Protect yourself and your family: You can get a non-GMO shopping guide and mobile app that can help you and your family avoid genetically engineered foods if you want to do so. And the Food Revolution Network offers a complimentary non-GMO action pack.
Ocean Robbins is founder and co-host (with best-selling author John Robbins) of the 90,000 member Food Revolution Network, an initiative to help you heal your body, and your world… with food. Find out more and sign up for free at foodrevolution.org.