Scientists speak up about genetically engineered salmon
September 20th, 2010
08:45 AM ET
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If it swims like a salmon, tastes like a salmon and looks like a salmon, is it salmon?

Genetically engineered Atlantic salmon has sparked controversy, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold two public meetings this week. The meetings aim to provide information on the topic, expert opinions and a chance for the public to make comments.

AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage Salmon would be the first genetically modified animal to appear in restaurants and grocery stores.

Currently, 50 percent of the salmon we eat worldwide is farmed Atlantic salmon, grown from eggs in large containment pools rather than the open ocean. The current production of farmed Atlantic salmon exceeds 2 billion pounds, according to the United Nation's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

The genetically altered salmon will also grow in on-shore facilities close to consumer markets, reducing transportation and the energy used to keep the fish fresh or frozen, according to a document from AquaBounty. Grown from eggs developed by AquAdvantage, this salmon will reach maturity in about half the time as natural salmon. The company asserts that this might help reduce pressure on the wild fish population.

Those both for and against the fish are speaking up.

"This fish is a healthy fish, it's safe to eat, and it's produced with a dramatically reduced carbon footprint," said Dr. Val Giddings, an independent scientist and consultant who formerly worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and has worked with AquaBounty.

AquAdvantage Salmon will not come in contact with wild salmon, something opponents are citing as a concern, added Giddings.

It is thought that such a thing could be harmful to wild fish : that the genetically engineered fish will dominate in the competition for already scarce resources.

"This fish is not going to threaten wild salmon populations for a number of reasons," Giddings said. "It would have to grow lungs, legs, and develop the ability to pick locks."

Dr. Margaret Mellon, director of the Food & Environment Program at the Union of Concerned Scientists , said she's not so sure.

"I think that's a very cavalier approach," she said, noting that the FDA has avoided considering the possibility that the fish might get out. "It's very true that these facilities do have much more rigorous containment … but there is such a thing as human error, and when you're relying on these facilities and mechanical equipment, you have a right to think that containment will be good but won't be absolute zero."

Mellon said it's not that she's against genetically engineered food; she thinks the FDA has not prepared thoroughly enough to tackle this monumental decision.

"The way they evaluate drugs – it's not good enough for controversial food," Mellon said. "You really need much more transparency."

The FDA posted a 172-page report online this month, summarizing its process for determining the safety of AquAdvantage Salmon. This includes everything from an environmental analysis to food and feed safety.

"If you really care about getting a thoughtful analysis, you'd give months to read that many pages," Mellon said.

She said that the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee , which will address the science-based issues associated with AquAdvantage Salmon, is mostly made up of the committee the FDA uses to evaluate veterinary pharmaceuticals, not food safety.

"It should have many people that are fishery scientists and real experts in food safety," Mellon said. "Instead, we have people who are being asked to step out of their field and do the best they can."

Giddings said he simply wants the FDA to make a definitive decision based on the scientific data, which Mellon says there's not enough of.

"Our organization does not object to genetically engineered foods," she said, "but we do insist that the approvals be backed up by rigorous science."

Catch up on all of Eatocracy's GMO coverage and watch the live feed of the FDA hearing on GMO salmon.

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Filed under: Food Politics • GMO • News • Seafood

soundoff (66 Responses)
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    May 7, 2013 at 5:19 am |
  4. Destiney

    Follow the money! My kids won't be eating it :) GMOS do not help world hunger lol that's a pretty big lie! However it is a big money maker and people are paid to troll, So don't take my or anyone else's word for it :) Do your own research and do what you feel is best for your family. It is worth looking into.

    April 25, 2013 at 2:26 pm |
  5. InsideLookingOUT

    I am in profession where I see what others can't.The FDA should be split into 2 divisions with 1 for food and 1 for drugs.All the research should be done by Universities worldwide.The best, brightest and unbiased minds throughout the world.FDA inspectors have to deal with manufacturing in different countries.The people KNOW when the inspections are coming and adjust.After the inspectors leave it is back to the sloppy standards.Take a look at the heparin that came from China it was contaminated with chrondroitin and other chemicals and it my opinion it was either sheer stupidity or no accident.
    FDA does not have the power and does not have the staff.Take a look at Johnson +Johnson once a fairly decent drug company when it was McNeil -Johnson now it is a joke.FDA sent them numerous warning letters for YEARS to clean it up.Johnson laughed at them because they have money.The wronged patients have been become collateral damage because 1 or 2 million dollars is nothing to them.
    FDA board members change over the years and now their votes are public so you can tell who is on the take.Some political groups want deregulation of companies and for companies to police themselves. This never works and now we have created some big giant monsters in all industries.Stay Healthy more later...............................

    September 22, 2010 at 5:36 am |
  6. Matt

    Humans are not designed to ingest lab-genetrated food items. Take a look at all of the processed foods that are currently on the market and how the Western world's ingestion of them has lead to unprecendent levels of cancers, obesity, and depression. It's time to go back to the basics and enjoy a simple and wholesome diet and lifestyle.

    September 21, 2010 at 4:03 pm |
  7. Lynn

    If this "Frankenfish" Salmon grows twice as fast as regular Salmon, how could it possibly taste like real Salmon? Also, what about the change in taste and/or nutrition based on the altered DNA received from the other 2 species, Chinook and the eel like "Ocean Pout" fish. Yuck..! Neither sounds tasty to me. I like my Salmon as is, and I for one am sick and tired of having my food altered, processed, irradiated, genetically modified and manipulated to the point that it no longer tastes anything like the original. Take tomatoes for instance: Hard, pink tasteless, scentless, irradiated tomatoes are all you can get at the grocery store anymore. Real tomatoes have a distinct, sweet/tart flavor and strong fragrant smell. Consumers should stop accepting the fakes and look a likes and demand real food by shopping at whole food markets, farmers markets and I guess from now on, local fisherman for real, untainted Salmon/sea food. As long as consumers keep demanding "real" food, the more it will continue to be provided by those in the food industry who still have integrity and a desire to produce authentic food that provides the best flavor and health benefits to humans as possible.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:55 pm |
  8. aubrie

    I won't even eat farm raised, much less a Frankenfish.... If it isn't wild caught, I won't eat it.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  9. Tess Mercer

    The bigger problem is human population. The Earth can only provide so much.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:17 pm |
  10. john

    Here is the real definition: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ not our health or safety!

    September 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm |
  11. dnsmith

    At 75 years old I have lived through it all. 2.4.D in agent orange, all those hormones and chemicals in and on my food. BTW, 2.4.D was used to eliminate another imported species back in the 50s – water lilies clogging many of our streams. DDT has been outlawed, and now many still prefer millions to die of malaria in tropical climes rather than kill mosquitos. Bah humbug! We are our own worse enemies and spend a lot of our worrying on trivial pursuits. Gosh, some parents are afraid to get their kids vaccinated. How stupid! Don't come here to live, or your kid won't be allowed to attend school without those vaccinations.

    September 21, 2010 at 12:00 pm |
  12. Marie

    Garbage in equals garbage out. An analogy that can be used to describe genetic engineering would be like adding a command (a piece of DNA) to a very complex computer program (organism) not really knowing what may happen at the various points of operations down the line, and how the engineered organism (plant or animal) will affect the human body or the environment at any or all levels of operation within any time frame. There is a difference between genetic engineering and plant hybrids (plant resulting from crossing to another plant) or animal hybrids (resulting from cross-species mating). Also, genetic engineered organisms cannot be recalled from the environment after they've been released since they will be integrated further either by cross pollination or ingested making it impossible to contain.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:45 am |
  13. PluffyFP

    No one is talking about the pollution that these inland tanks will accrue. I'd like to hear more about the tank conditions, need for antibiotics, waste management, etc. Farmed salmon and factory farming practices in general are environmentally destructive. That should concern all of us.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:38 am |
  14. Marie

    Garbage in equals garbage out. An analogy that can be used to describe genetic engineering would be like adding a command to a very complex computer program not really knowing what may happen at the various points of operations down the line within the engineered organism (plant or animal) and how it will affect the human body or the environment at any or all levels of operation. There is a difference between genetic engineering and plant hybrids (plant resulting from crossing to another plant) or animal hybrids (resulting from cross-species mating). Also, genetic engineered organisms cannot be recalled from the environment after they've been released since they will be integrated further either by cross pollination or ingested making it impossible to contain.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:32 am |
  15. Capt. NoDuh

    And there is supposed to be no Asian Carp in the Mississippi river, no Snake fish the the Potomac river, no zebra mussels in the Great Lakes, no Anaconda snakes in the Everglades and no Capybara (big Guinea Pig) in Texas.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:29 am |
    • dnsmith

      And none of those invasions of non-indigenous animals are hybrids bred to be sterile. Like in much of the south, we have a significant part of our forests taken over by cudzuh (sp). This stuff is great to stop erosion, but it takes over and is almost impossible to eliminate. So why not cultivate it and use it for biomass to make fuel?

      September 21, 2010 at 11:55 am |
  16. dnsmith

    I have yet to see even one iota of information suggesting that this hybrid fish can be bad for our health. I don't like Salmon, but would certainly eat the hybrid as much as the wild variety living in the cess pools we call oceans.

    September 21, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • Capt. NoDuh

      Here is one reason: antibiotics and hormones are fed to poultry, beef and pork to make them grow faster, lay more eggs or produce more milk. These hormones are showing up in children, causing little girls as young as seven to become sexually mature and cause give boys with no weight problems to grow breasts.

      These genetically altered salmon are rigged to make so much more hormones that they grow twice as fast, and these hormones will be saturating the salmon which you will eat. If you are fine with consuming massive doses of fish hormones and don't mind the side effects such as fish lips, then enjoy!

      September 21, 2010 at 11:34 am |
      • dnsmith

        So what else is new? All foods have the issues you suggest. Still no useful information to make me not eat hybrid food.

        Years ago (like maybe 60 or so) I was a zealot for organic food and asked my father who was a graduate agronomist and bacteriologist, "Why don't we stop poisoning ourselves with all this chemical fertilizer and pesticides?" His answer, "Yes, we could stop and in the process we will reduce future cancers or other illnesses significantly, possibly saving several million people from devastating diseases." "But", and here is the rub, "a billion people will starve in the next 1 to 2 years."

        Moral of the story, "Living 30 or 40 years to die of cancer is much more desirable than starving in 1 or 2 years."
        Sure, it won't be me that starves, but there is not one human being in the world who deserves less of a future than me, or you.

        September 21, 2010 at 11:52 am |

    Everything we eat, drink and breathe today is chemically or geneticly enhanced or altered in some form or another. Perhaps some of the funding that come from all of these watch groups should be spent on more creative ideas like all organtic fast food chains, same names (mcdonalds, burger king etc.) just organic. Let the public decide.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  18. saganhill

    People are so stupid when it comes to a technology they know nothing about. They think for some odd reason that if they ingest genetically altered food they will somehow alter their own DNA/RNA. Complete Hollywood BS. People are stupid.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:30 am |
  19. Nelson

    Paul Watson is currently thinking about how to take advantage of this situation and say "it's those damn Japanese and their sushi needs". And next season we will see Salmon Wars on TV.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:26 am |
  20. kj

    and what if someone in control of the security goes "postal" and lets one or two out into the wild, we're taking that risk, it could happen

    September 21, 2010 at 10:19 am |
  21. Danny

    Perhaps the developers of this scientific experiment can partner with seed developer Monsanto and farm feed these laboratory salmon with GMO corn feed too!!! Then the FDA can put it on the market completely unlabeled for consumers to unknowingly purchase!? Where did we go wrong? When did it become acceptable for corporations to manipulate life in the name of profit and then patent it? For generations humans have been nourished and sustained by a food source created perfectly by God. Since when did people think they can do it better than God? Something is horribly wrong here. I fear the consequences of the disturbing decisions corporations, organizations, and regulators make and the negative effects it may have on future generations to come.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:18 am |
    • TiredoCrap

      You asked the question:: "When did it become acceptable for corporations to manipulate life in the name of profit and then patent it?" It was acceptable as far back as farming. Humans took certain animals and domesticated them, caging them and breeding them. They bred certain males with certain females to engineer a "better" offspring. This has been going on since before the Greek or Roman empires... Why is this a surprise?

      Also, you asked: "For generations humans have been nourished and sustained by a food source created perfectly by God. Since when did people think they can do it better than God?"

      Not wanting to get into a religious debate, but the God that created the perfect food source also created the famine and over-population conditions that cause the scientists (also created by God) to start searching for a way to enhance the current (God-created) conditions. They used their God-given abilities to come up with a solution using the scientific principles that God has us living within. Not sure what the concern is.... You are using a computer and electricity, right? Were these around without the exact same scientific processes and discovery? Many people had similar arguments when technology started – against God's plan – and yet here you are, embracing the devil-inspired technology...

      September 21, 2010 at 1:13 pm |
  22. Carl

    Personally, I will be happy to eat this salmon. Between the cooking process and my digestive enzymes, I will turn the DNA molecules into smaller proteins. What seems to be upsetting people is the massive amount of misinformation being passed around in tiny little articles that use improper terms. I've seen "inject growth hormones" used – I'm trying to imagine one of these salmon farmers chasing the little minnows around with a tiny hypodermic needle. The growth increase comes from incorporating genes from an edible fish that grows faster naturally, along with salmon genes from other species. This is not some mad scientist creating strange fish from artifical chemicals. We have been doing the same thing with our argicultural products, and very few people seem concerned about that.

    I DO worry when I find animals raised for food being injected or treated with chemicals that are not part of the regular diet, i.e. antibiotics, growth hormones, and milk-stimulating prpducts. They do get into the food supply and do not belong there. If you must worry about food modifications, worry about those.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:15 am |
  23. frankenfood

    Food Inc. if you haven't watched it, please make an attempt to watch it. You will find that at every turn we try to keep our foods untouched by engineering, there is a federal group trying to quash the local farmer/grower. Salmonella on spinach? Over-engineering. Over fertiliizing our land? hence the ever growing dead zones in our oceans. We can grow sustaining crops without the need to over fertilize or engineer.

    September 21, 2010 at 10:13 am |
  24. Keith1952

    So, you believe that our government will protect us from bad things. What criteria do you use for that assumption? I realize that that it their stated purpose but with Government the stated purpose is seldom the underlying reason for anything they do.

    I will not eat this fish under any circumstances unless it gets loose and breeds with the wild population. I do not eat any farmed fish of any kind and I don't eat beef or pork that has been in a commercial feed lot. I do eat hormone grown chicken but only because I haven't found a supplier that doesn’t charge me $10 dollars for a fryer.

    September 21, 2010 at 9:53 am |
  25. PIlgrim

    I believe one of the articles online indicated the fish were triploid, and predominately females, so essentially the stocks are infertile. The break-into-the-lab-and-put-some-in-the-ocean scenario risk would be minimal. The cod fishery in Eastern Canada was over-fished and collapsed in the early 90's...putting about 40,000 fishermen out of work and destroying an abundant global food source that had existed for over 400 years. If its about jobs and food, and the GMO salmon are safe to eat (GMO crops have been consumed for over 15 years now) and economical to produce, then a sustainable inland fishery might be possible. None of our other staple North American food sources are produced by 'hunting' anymore and almost all agricultural crops have benefitted by breeding, hybridosis, mutation or GMO technologies, fish seem like a reasonable extension.

    September 21, 2010 at 3:24 am |
  26. christopherf

    The ONLY way to stop this, is to unequivocally refuse to purchase this "franken-fish" regardless of the cost Money talks. LIke this company cares about it's "carbon footprint"; what a hoot! ALL they care about is the carbon from the dollar bills that it reaps for them.

    September 21, 2010 at 2:52 am |
  27. Julie

    Such a fuss.
    A;ready we gorge ourselves on meat pumped full of growth hormones and antibiotics. Many if not most of the grains and vegetables we eat are genetic hybrids straight from the laboratory – some of which is so genetically modified that it couldn't reproduce on it's own even if it could buckle itself into leather harnesses and make good use of well-placed pillows...
    And we're going to beat our breasts and gnash our teeth over a fish that's made to grow fast? Get with it people – ya wanna eat fish? Get used to it because there is no way in nature that we will all be able to eat nice, pristine, wild fish. Period. We have overpopulated the planet and outgrown it's ability to produce food naturally in the amounts require. We have compounded the problem by damaging and destroying habitat. Other species, when they outgrow their food sources, die off, or hold off reproduction. We humans can't be bothered with controlling ourselves though, so we tinker with nature and sqsueeze it to just produce more.
    The alternative is much, much much smaller food variety and less of it folks.
    Take your pick.

    September 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm |
  28. reallynow

    No thanks to Franken Food. the FDA doesn't care about any of us. The FDA only cares about how it can pad its pockets. Eat GMO foods and dies a slow, painful death.

    September 20, 2010 at 8:06 pm |
  29. Larry

    please read the following on farm raised salmon.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  30. Chip

    That shouldn't be your only problem with this. Why?
    You're implying that our gov't officials will act in its citizens best interests, when they don't.
    Our laws are bought and paid for by the corporations that pay them "bonuses" to legislate on their behalf.
    P.S. – Mass starvation already has gripped the globe.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:33 pm |
    • wraithnot

      I'll agree that there is definitely some corruption in our government. And the supreme court decision saying that political contributions are protected "speech" under the first amendment will only make this worse. But you're implying that ALL decisions made by government officials are stacked against the average citizen. Maybe I'm too much of an optimist, but that doesn't seem like a very good strategy for said government officials given that their bosses are all elected by average citizens. And if you truly believe our entire representative democracy is corrupt to the core, you might want to consider relocating to Canada.

      September 20, 2010 at 8:11 pm |
  31. steve

    The only problem I have with this is one of these getting into the wild and breeding with wild salmon, other than that I think the idea should be embraced. All opponents please take a step back and realize that this fish isn't going to harm you if consumed, at it's worse it might be slightly less nutritious than a wild caught or presently farmed salmon. The human population is still growing exponentially and unless food production breakthroughs like this are not embraced mass starvation could grip the globe.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  32. marky

    Does anyone really believe we would be told the truth about which fish, plants, animals, etc have been gen engineered?
    The gov protects corporations and we are the test rats. The answers should become evident in 30 – 50 years.

    September 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm |
  33. tobybo

    ...sure..the so called Matzoh lovers at Ben & Jerrys come out against it..anyone ever ask them if their ice cream makes people bigger?? What bull***t!!!

    September 20, 2010 at 7:02 pm |
  34. Chip

    The "scientists" here are bought and paid for by AquaBounty, clearly.
    Impossible for the genetically engineered salmon to make it into a wild population? What arrogance!!!!
    How about if I picked one up, put it in a bowl of water and dumped it into a natural habitat?
    Gee – nobody would ever do that, right?

    September 20, 2010 at 7:00 pm |
    • wraithnot

      I'd actually never heard of AquaBounty until this story hit the news. The mainstream press also mangled some of the information and I didn't understand the details until I found the FDA document. In a previous post I did mention "I suppose you could break into the facility, steal some live salmon, and dump them into the ocean. But hopefully there's not a realistic chance that you or anyone else would do such a thing." If you think a radical animal rights activist might actually break into one of these facilities, grab a live salmon, and dump it into its natural habitat just to prove their point, I would say in that case the radical animal rights activist rather than the biotech company would be the real problem. They also engineered the fish to be sterile to further decrease the chance of mating with wild salmon, but I don't know enough about fish biology to say if there's a chance the fish could revert to being fertile. If there is actually a scientist who works for AquaBounty on this message board, they could probably handle that one.

      September 20, 2010 at 7:52 pm |
      • Val

        Ha, it appears you know plenty about hormones and genes and appear to be very informed on the subject. So please drop your false modesty and "I don't know enough about fish biology" and just tell everyone who you are (it will also help people judge the accuracy of the information you provide). To me you do not sound like someone who just has a casual interest in the subject and has read an article or two on the Internet. I personally think that unstable genes that can potentially "jump" species should be number one concern. I also believe in my rights as a consumer to know what I am purchasing and consuming. GMO's MUST be labeled as such. There is ABSOLUTELY NO question about it.

        September 21, 2010 at 1:52 pm |
  35. Hannah Temple

    isnt that like putting cancer cells in our body over and over to accumulate until our bodies burst. because its GENETICALLY ENGINEERING CHEMICAL DNA to get a fish. only so many things can go so wrong when making DNA.

    September 20, 2010 at 6:43 pm |
  36. X

    People better get used to this. Genetically modified food will become more common, and there's no stopping it. Not only that, animal protein grown in labs will be more common too. People might think it's disgusting, but their kids and grand-kids will think nothing of it. There are potential problems, but also potential benefits. Lab grown meat would in theory be disease-free, less prone to contamination, use less energy to produce and create less pollution, and there would be no animal-cruelty issues.

    September 20, 2010 at 6:39 pm |
  37. Hon

    The genetic modification is the gene that produce growth hormone. In normal situation, fish at winter time slows down everthing in terms of metabolism. The overall effect of this gene modification is that the fish produce quite a bit growth hormone even in winter, thus cut the growth time to half.

    The real critical question will be: is the hormone still there when we eat the fish. What happen if we eat these growth hormone-rich fish for long? Are we going to growth taller even in our fourties, or fifties? May be the owners of furniture stores like this GM salmon coz many people will need extra size beds...

    September 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
    • wraithnot

      There are different classes of hormones in vertebrates. It appears that the hormone engineered into this salmon is a peptide hormone. And thus your digestive system would treat it like any other protein and break it down into its basic building blocks. Insulin is also a peptide hormone and if you know any diabetics, you know that they must inject insulin rather than taking it like a pill. So unless someone injects this salmon into their bloodstream, the hormone shouldn't have any effect on them. And if they do inject this salmon into their bloodstream, this particular peptide hormone will be the least of their problems . . .

      September 20, 2010 at 5:30 pm |
  38. Limer

    Everyone knows that eating farm raised salmon does not offer up the same health benefits as wild salmon. What's the story with GMO salmon? Can they make fish oil with the skins etc? Is thsi fish healthier to eat than farm rasied?

    September 20, 2010 at 4:11 pm |
  39. Jeff

    We are now concerned that our practices for raising chickens is causing early puberty in girls. I would think that there would be equal concern with a fish that is engineered to grow quickly. What will happend to people when they ingest this fish?

    September 20, 2010 at 3:50 pm |
    • Chip

      You underscored the biggest problem here – i.e. – nobody making the decisions on this issue CARE about what happens to people who eat these fish. They probably care much more about how much money they can get from AquaBounty to sign off on this genetic experiment.

      September 20, 2010 at 7:04 pm |
  40. BioMan

    the public would absolutely go crazy if they had any inking of the amount of GMO food in their diet--GMO soybean oil. GMO corn oil, GMO cottonseed oil, and GMO canola oil just to name a few. Maybe that is why John Q Public is so ignorant about GMO foods

    September 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
  41. Mike Brooks

    Two problems. First, if those genetically altered salmon mix with native salmon they can do untold damage leading to the extinction of wild fish. We have already seen this with plants like corn, soybeans, etc. And, second, I am concerned about the claim that there are only "marginal differences" between the genetically altered fish and wild fish. Now, there is only a marginal difference between methanol and ethanol, but that marginal difference will kill you.

    September 20, 2010 at 3:16 pm |
    • wraithnot

      @Mike Brooks: there is no such thing as wild corn. Modern corn was developed by humans through many generations of selective breeding. Regarding the genetically engineered salmon, they are only seeking approval to grow them in "inland tanks" so someone would have to break into one of these facilities and steal some live salmon for them to get introduced into the wild population. I also don't think any chemist or biologist would describe ethanol and methanol as only having only a "marginal difference". Your digestive system is really good at breaking down DNA and protein in food into simple chemicals. Your digestive system will turn natural salmon and these engineered salmon into identical chemicals. That's a marginal difference.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:43 pm |
      • sven

        wraithnot, looking at the comments it looks to me as you are paid to make comments and try to wag the tail of the fish so to speak. in 2007 100.000 fish farmed salmon escaped (as on many other occasions. they biggest worry scientist have (and this was prior gm altered salmon). that they would reproduce in the wild creating havoc. gm fish or plants are wrong. we are acting like god in a science lab (even tha vatican is opposed to gm engineering). we are not talking cross breeding here, we are talking altering the dna. creating unstable dna creating all sorts of hazerds in the long rum which we are not aware of.. because time will tell. if you do not believe me, google it. unstable dna gm foods. we are not being confronted with super weeds where we need to spray more pesticides than ever before because these weeds have had there dna change because of gm crops.

        but the simplest question is this. if it is that safe, why not stick a label on it? you know just as well as i do that nobody would buy it. this salmon is a monster, it is the worst thing that could have happened and it should have been forbidden from the start.

        September 21, 2010 at 11:53 am |
  42. joshua2257

    other than the fact that it may be safe to eat, how stable is the genetic alteration? is it possible for the genetic transfection of the salmon to jump and migrate into other animals, or into humans? natural selection, and evolution, has shown that bacteria can spontaneously pass genetic material about so that antibiotic resistance is spreading wildly. have they shown that this gene will not jump out and change cockroaches into giant pests?

    September 20, 2010 at 2:50 pm |
    • wraithnot

      @joshua2257: the internet is a wonderful thing. Here is a snippet from the FDA document UCM224760:
      "ABT has examined the durability of the AquAdvantage genotype and phenotype in multiple
      families over seven generations. This experience has presented no indication of change or
      instability; and, as shown in Figure 5, the molecular-genetic stability of the integrated
      transgene has been examined specifically in representative individuals from the multiple
      families representing the source of animal subjects for regulatory investigations that have
      been submitted in support of NADA approval."
      Bacteria have evolved mechanisms to utilize foreign DNA. Humans have evolved to digest foreign DNA that they consume. Growth signals are also not universal between species. I seriously doubt a cockcroach would respond to a salmon growth hormone gene even if it did somehow incorporate it.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
    • Chopswell

      If by eating a FrankenSalmon, increased my chances of having that 'whatever' GMO transfer to me, imagine all the new porn movies I could be in!

      September 21, 2010 at 7:44 am |
  43. Testm0

    no dye is needed for naturally occurring, wild caught healthy salmon. salmon in grocery stores (at least where I live in one of the largest cities in the US) has labels citing "food coloring has been added." plenty of the food we eat that we purchase from markets are not the flesh and muscle from healthy creatures. have you ever caught a fish with a cancer so large you are wondering how on the earth it swam?

    September 20, 2010 at 2:25 pm |
  44. Jason


    If you had ever caught a wild salmon, you would know that their meat is in fact pink or red. No dye is needed.

    September 20, 2010 at 1:15 pm |

    If this fish is so good and healthy why is there waste so toxic. Look at the eco system in Maine under there Farm Raised Fish,It is DEAD .No weeds, no crabs no nothing , just a barren ocean bottom. What about the Dye they feed the fish to make there flesh turn Orange so it is more appealing to the comsumer. Otherwise it would be a TAN COLOR , not what a NATURAL SALMON LOOKS LIKE.

    September 20, 2010 at 12:05 pm |
    • derrick

      Anthony, I sympathize with your concern about marine fisheries like the one you describe. However, at least according to the article, these fish would be grown in landlocked containment units (like many others). Did I misread? I think your overall point is a good one, though.

      September 21, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  46. pbsat

    By the way, this can't just be approved at FDA level. It needs to be approved at a global level by international community. There are no absolute guarantees that GMO salmon won't infiltrate natural salmon.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:28 am |
  47. pbsat

    Reduced carbon footprint due to genetically modified salmon? Why not stop eating salmon, so that there won't be any carbon footprint at all, at least because of salmon eating? Onset of another 'madfish' disease? This is a huge danger to life and ecosystem at large. This needs to be tested over the life cycle of a human being and evaluated over a period of 80 years or so. Not these eye wash research studies.

    September 20, 2010 at 11:23 am |
    • wraithnot

      @pbsat: You're proposing that any new technology that could impact human health needs to be studied for 80 YEARS before being approved? Have you thought through the implications of this? People have raised concerns over the health effects of radiation from cell phones. Using your logic, you wouldn't even have the option to buy a cell phone for another 41 years! Are you willing to give up your cell phone to save yourself from hypocrisy? I doubt it. You also state that there are no absolute guarantees that the genetically engineered salmon wont "infiltrate" the natural populations. Once again, using your logic you really should be living in a bunker since there is no "absolute guarantee" that a meteorite won't hit your house at any moment. A rational person lives their lives by only worrying about things that have some realistic chance of coming to pass. The FDA found that the company took "reasonable" precautions by growing the salmon in inland tanks. I suppose you could break into the facility, steal some live salmon, and dump them into the ocean. But hopefully there's not a realistic chance that you or anyone else would do such a thing.

      September 20, 2010 at 3:14 pm |
      • aj

        well said wraithnot, well said.

        September 20, 2010 at 4:00 pm |
      • Michael

        @wraithnot I agree. And to build on the "infiltrate" the natural population comment, I believe that Atlantic salmon return to the streams they were born in to mate. So these "infiltrating" fish with either not mate or the fish themselves would break back into the facility to mate. Either way, I think the wild fish will be safe.

        September 20, 2010 at 6:06 pm |
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