Genetically modified food – fishy, or a taste of the future?
September 22nd, 2010
07:30 PM ET
Share this on:

This week's Food and Drug Administration hearings on the introduction of genetically modified salmon into the consumer food system, and issues around labeling the fish as such has given rise to heated debates both in Washington and in the comments section of Eatocracy.

We were once again struck by the passion and intelligence of our readers, and are sharing some highlights from both sides of the conversation - as well as some who are just in search of sensible answers, minus any hype.

Ignorance is not so blissful

I've done my research on genetics and modification and have determined that GE foods are neither safe nor unsafe. We simply don't know for sure how safe GE foods are. I do however have a problem with biotech companies shoving these GE foods down our throats. And don't tell me we have a choice, because they've fought labeling laws and we have no idea whether what we're eating is GE or not unless you buy 100% organic. All of us in the U.S. have eaten GE foods without knowing it.

In my experience, the people who are in favor of GE are the blissfully ignorant people. They just figure "science must be right, right?" - Tim

You're too quick to panic

We eat all sorts of foods that have widely varying DNA codes, from wheat to rice to cattle to chickens, and yet having all those varying DNA sources in our digestive system have done absolutely no harm. We even eat different hybrids of the same food which we humans modified via natural selection. No ill effects from that either. Why you ask? Because their DNA does not alter our DNA. We will not get a third eye from eating something with modified DNA any more than you can get a third eye from eating white corn on the cob or movie theater popcorn, both of which were also created by human modification. - Michael

Knowledge is a powerful animal

I work with transgenic animals. They pose no threat as the recombinant DNA has been incorporated into the genome of the animal. I would not recommend that anyone inject themselves with recombinant DNA but eating a GMO is hardly a danger. If you want citations on how transgenics are created check out pubmed.gov. Here you will find a vast amount of literature on the subject. Also, "The Cell" by Alberts et al. has a great little section on GMO and transgenic mice that anyone can understand. Good luck learning. Science is fun! - Nicole

The big question - WHY?

In reading the company's website and all of the comments I cannot seem to find the reason as to WHY we need genetically modified salmon? Aside from the monetary benefit, I am curious... is there a shortage of salmon? Has the demand for salmon exceeded the natural production and harvest time? I would simply like to know the reasoning. The company's website states the following:

"AquaBounty is developing advanced-hybrid salmon, trout, and tilapia designed to grow faster than traditional fish. AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS) reach market size twice as fast as traditional salmon. This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit to farmers (reduced growing cycle) as well as enhancing the economic viability of inland operations, thereby diminishing the need for ocean pens."

Monetary gain. "This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit..." Also, what is the HEALTH benefit (if any) to consuming this type of fish?

Can I get an HONEST answer please. - AM5

Nature gets a helping hand

All of you people with this fear of genetics. Almost all food species have been created by the combining of genes from different groups, by cross breeding. This resulting salmon is no different than if they bred a salmon to the pout. You get the same results, mixing of genes from different species. However with typical hybridization, only a portion of the resulting offspring will have the desirable traits and there is a very good chance the meat would taste different due to all the rest of the pout's genes being in the mix.

Doing it in vitro with only the desired gene means all the resulting offspring will have the desired trait and the salmon will still taste like salmon. It's not like they are mixing spider venom genes into the fish. Disease resistance means less need for antibiotics and faster growth means less environmental toxins the fish can absorb before hitting the food chain. - Nicole

We've got it down to a science

We've been making and eating genetically modified food for thousands of years. Our ancestors started eating genetically modified food as soon as they started picking and choosing which cattle got to breed and which seeds were replanted. The only difference is that now we understand how it works and can do it much faster. A prime example: the Belgian Blue cow. Go ahead and Google it and look at that monstrosity. Genetically modified, but no needle required. - IEK

Is greed leading the way?

What I have a problem with is not the fact that the fish has been altered genetically.

Instead, it's that this kind of effort represents the beginning of the end of "open source" food. At some point will the engendering of all organisms be controlled by corporations?

Where are we going with all this? What is the plan? Human beings have a some degree of technological know-how at this stage in the game, but can we really claim that our technology can compare to the highest technology that we know, namely the natural world developed over millions of years through evolution?

Why allow corporations to mess with things we don't fully understand just for profit? - Onray

It might just save us all

It's not always about making more money faster. Often, it's about addressing a particular issue. This would be really good to help fight world hunger. There are starving nations in Africa that could certainly use genetically modified food to feed their starving citizens. It's easy to sit back and demand no genetically modified food when you don't have to worry about if you're going to have a next meal. - twistedpuppet

The ripple effect

Terrifying. We just do not know enough about the effects and consequences of doing this to species – and then eating them. No, I would not eat a genetically modified Salmon, and I do NOT want them introduced into the environment. - HK

It's a natural progression

My undergrad degree is in Biology – Botany to be specific. I had to take courses on genetics.

I have no issue with GMO food and I will eat it. The only concern I have with GMO is that people MUST be told where the extra genetic material came from in order to prevent allergic reactions. That is the only relevant concern in my mind since all amino acids, organic compounds, and enzymes can cause allergy issues. As far as nutritional value, I do not see any difference. The natural process of digestion precludes the integration of this genetic material directly with ours. These building blocks are just put together differently creating different organisms.

This firm that has created these fast-growing salmon just wants to protect their investment and recoup those costs. If it allows the food to be grown abundantly and less expensive with less environmental impact on the ‘natural’ population – fine.

Gregor Mendel cross-bred peas to do his pioneering work on genetics back in the 1800’s. Man has been ‘interfering’ in the genetics of the items we eat from times even further back - potatoes, corn, beans - our societies and cultures have grown on the basis of these changes. This is just the next step. - Ella

Where's the accountability?

The FDA does little to really protect the public. After people die they recall food products or drugs. After people die. The least they could do is have truthful labeling so the public can decide for ourselves. But they don't care. They are paid off. - I EAT I BREATHE

Extreme times need bold solutions - even if they're not ideal

Yeah, I agree in principle that genmod food is not on my wish list. However, folks, the world's population is pushing 7 billion (it was only 5 billion in the 1980's). I'm from the Pacific Northwest, and I can tell you, we've been having problems sustaining natural fish stocks for over 30 years now. I don't think the world can handle another 2 or 3 billion. And, while we'd all say "then the world should have less babies", the next pragmatic question I'll leave you with is, how exactly would you ever enforce that? I don't like genmod food, but it might be the only answer. There isn't going to be enough nature-grown fish, at any price, to feed people. We live in quite a world. - John P

Why fight nature?

What's the problem with genetically modified food? Two things:

First, it has the potential, in the near future, to limit the options we have on the foods we eat. That it's taking away our right to choose. A choice among a many assortments of "only" genetically modified foods is not a choice at all. It is a suppression of our rights.

Second, our bodies have been developing over thousands of years. It is a slow process that our biology adapt to the environment around us and just like us, so to do the have plants and animals. We change together. Producing genetically modified fish that change in a blink of an eye in comparison with the evolution of life has health implications we don't yet understand. The big fear is if our understanding of the health implications come after all natural organic food has already been wiped out and replaced by the cross breading/pollination of genetically modified animals and plants.

To think we, as the brilliant and flawed humans we are, can produce better a food that will agree with nature better than that of which nature it self has already produced is mad. If you are reading this please take the poll above very seriously. Polls like this are used on the news and sway many. If it reads that a crushing majority DO NOT approve, court cases of the future will have a better chance at saving our food. - Derek Waleko

It's the only way

I don't think there is any choice. World populations continue to grow and native harvests are unpredictable, subject to pollution, and affected by climate change. Ideally the "meat" would simply be protein that could be grown in vats quickly, on-demand and without requiring the killing of anything sentient - not that fish are that sentient. - dj

Down with fake food

I've only eaten wild caught salmon for years. It was bad enough when they added the red dye to farmed salmon. This is just disgusting. I'd rather pay through the nose to fly to Alaska, catch it myself and ship it back across continent on ice than to ingest a single one of these inbred science projects masquerading as food. - Anne

Been there, eaten that - still okay

What are your fears of GMO salmon? I simply do not understand. I have actually eaten GMO salmon since I work in the industry and believe me, they taste no different, or just as good for you and can increase yields substantially so as to actually reduce prices in the long term.

As for concerns regarding genetic manipulation of our foods, can you please tell me which foods you eat ARE NOT modified genetically from their distant ancient relatives (e.g. corn, cattle, broccoli, pork, etc...)? That is correct. NONE! Everything we eat has been modified genetically. It has just taken decades and decades with absolutely no idea what was being done at the cellular/molecular level. Now we can change organisms with exact information and create new forms of food which are better for our environment and for ourselves.

I simply do not get why people are scared of this since it has been going on for thousands of years and our life span has never been greater than it is now. If genetic change of our foods would have caused problems, we would have seen it by now. - canuck1000

It's better than some freakier foods already in our kids' diet

People need to understand what this means – it means fish grow faster. That is it. I would bet (my life) that you allow your kids to eat chicken nuggets, hot dogs and McDonalds. If you fed them genetically modified salmon you would be doing them a big favor over the other processed foods you allow them to eat. - Matt

Posted by:
Filed under: Buzz • Environment • FDA • Fishing • Food Politics • From the Comments • GMO • News • Ocean • Sustainability


soundoff (153 Responses)
  1. baidu456

    Valuable.

    September 8, 2011 at 1:17 am |
  2. Traci

    Corporations and others in authority are putting profits first and humanity last. I think it would be great if the entire human race gets wiped out. Maybe leaving a few babies behind to pro-create and start fresh.. Hopefully, they don't play God and make the same mistakes our generations have made.

    August 31, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
  3. Derpper

    Well, for those who call it natural and that you will have nooooooooooooooo problems with GMO foods. Here's one we have all eaten, to bad we ate it for so long before the effects were learned.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/monsanto-gm-corn-causing_n_425195.html

    January 5, 2011 at 7:49 am |
  4. hope

    Natural cures for Hiatal Hernia are by far the safest way, but what was mentionned in this article is the the only options. Master Cleanse is more effective then small portion meals, or no spicy food. By doing a cleansing the body will evacuate all the build up toxins and balances the Ph. By not eating food for few day the stomack will rest and any chiropractic adjustment will be the answer. Weight loss will folow and a healthy diet will maintain a healthy unherniated stomach. http://www.cure4us.com

    October 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm |
  5. Andy

    Playing with genetics is simply a faster way of selectively breeding, a tactic used since before the Egyptians. Saying that we should avoid GMO foodstuffs is comprable to implying that because a plane moves faster than a car, it is more dangerous, and we should look extensively into what can happen.

    October 1, 2010 at 6:35 pm |
  6. Mo E

    The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) recently reported that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food,” including infertility, immune problems, accelerated aging, faulty insulin regulation, and changes in major organs and the gastrointestinal system. The AAEM asked physicians to advise patients to avoid GM foods. You can read their position paper at http://www.aaemonline.org/gmopost.html

    September 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm |
  7. Poppa

    1.) GM foods are NOT the same as breeding for traits.GM adds traits for which the original organism did not possess. The caution is introducing something that produces an allergic reaction, akin to taking whatever it is in nuts and tossing it into a fish. This can pretty much be tested for.
    2.) The danger is not so much in eating the thing if the geneis taken from something we already eat.
    3.) The danger is the pure and simple idiots who, despite all precautions Will, i repeat WILL introduce he salmon into the naural habitat. Some farm worker willthink it is pretty cool to catch a giant salmon and find a way to put them in to the wterway with unknown consequences. History isfull of examples of environmental diasters following good intentions: Starlings into the US, rabbits into AU, gypsy moths, invasive plants. We as a species are to stupid to be able to understand the effects down the road. You read it hear folks. These WILL get into the environment.

    Lastly, if Monsanto is an example of how protectionist the company will get in legally gaining rights to naturally reproducing GM in the wild, expect to have to pay your future fishing licenses to the creating company for "wild" GM stock. Far fetched but not.

    September 24, 2010 at 9:15 am |
  8. Dave C

    I think this is a terrible idea because there is a high risk of a severely impacting wild salmon and steelhead and other species.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:56 pm |
  9. Chris S

    The whole genetic engineering thing actually is agricultural imperialism. Notice how, despite the almost universal negative reaction in industrialized nations, that Monsanto et als continues pushing frankenfoods. Reason: They can control the entire food chain of developing nations. The syndrome is simple:

    1. Develop a proprietary agricultural product.
    2. Convince a country (or whole continent) that it's their agricultural salvation.
    3. Leading to that country adopting your product, and
    4. It's dependence on you to supply seed.
    5. Thereby maximizing your profits while assuring a marketplace.

    It's really that simple. Or, as my friend Jean Lane succinctly puts it, "who owns the seed controls the feed."

    If you think not, take a look at the early days of GMO development, and the government agencies which, despite their own negative studies, signed off on it. Commerce, and USDA, and, omigod!, even the EPA (who's own published studies, btw, indicated that gmo crops would cross contaminate regular crops, despite Monsanto's claims otherwise).

    Consider, even more in this regard, the purpose of terminator technology. Was it to "feed the world," as is often (and erroneously) claimed by it's developers? Or was it to assure that farmers would be locked-in to Monsanto for certain chemicals? Fortunately for the world, that one was just too blatent, and terminator was banned.

    The interesting thing in all this is that the claims made for genetically modified crops are exactly the same ones made for hybrids. Yet, hybrids-which were going to solve all the problems of agriculture-never fulfilled their promise. So now we have GMOs, which "will solve all the problems of hybrids." And yet, history to date indicates that none of the GMOs have performed as Monsanto promises.

    One of the problems is that when Monsanto sues, and wins, the win gets trumpeted to the world. Yet, when Monsanto settles an unwinnable suit (which happens fairly often), there is always a non-disclosure clause in the settlement. The result, of course, is creation of a myth; that Monsanto is this monolithic company that flattens farmers who stand in its way.

    But, at base, Monsanto has one goal, which it's never denied: Control of the world food supply. This is why it fights for such things as agricultural white lists, and against things like heirlooms and seed saving. It's always amazed me how this multi-billion dollar company can afford to fund faux-scientific organizations whose sole purpose is to support it's work with "outside" expertise, but there's no budget to support seed banks. Just one of those coincidences, I reckon.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm |
  10. Chris cooper

    The concern about GMOs isn't so much whether they are safe to eat or not, it's what happens under intellectual property laws is what is extremely disturbing about GMO foods. Why should a handful of companies control the most vital source that ever human needs–food? Farmers have been sued by companies like Monsanto because their fields of crops have been contaminated with GMO foods grown by other farmers around the area. The farmers don't have enough money to fight a huge corporation like Monsanto and therefore go bankrupt, even though they never wanted GMO crops.

    GMOs are NOT just about food safety, the bigger and larger issue that most people ignore is the issue of POWER and CONTROL. Control the food supply, and you can control EVERYTHING.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm |
  11. Nancy B

    I guess no one has ever read/watched Soylent Green. The future is laid out before you.

    September 23, 2010 at 7:28 pm |
  12. Derek

    Thanks, Sunnysky1, for that great example. I too, don't believe that fear is a motivating factor for those of us who do not see the need for genetically modified food on out dinner tables. On the surface I guess I support the right of an individual to consume a food that a biotech company dreamed up because it is their right to make decisions about what they put in their own bodies. But, I want the right to know what I am eating too. Apparently the FDA feels that the rights of biotech companies to disguise a product which consumer might not otherwise purchase is more important than the rights of millions of American citizens to know what they are eating. I also want to know that when the genetics of the %5 of the GMO fish who are not sterile escapes into wild populations of fish and irrevocably contaminates the native population, I will in some way be compensated for the loss of that native species which I depend on. Just like environmental cleanup efforts have focused on seizure of assets from polluters, we need to put laws in place that will make it easier to seize polluter's assets for the cleanup of genetic pollution.

    September 23, 2010 at 5:39 pm |
  13. sunnysky1

    Most people who oppose genetically engineered foods are not afraid of genetic technology. In fact, there are literally hundreds of scientists in America and Europe who oppose genetic engineering of food as irresponsible science. Genetic research could be used in beneficial ways but it has no business on my dinner plate. While I can appreciate farmers pursuing their economic interest, the genetically modified salmon is an unnecessary and inferior product. Unnecessary because a faster growing fish could be obtained through a comprehensive breeding program. Consider the Cornish Rock broiler chicken. The Cornish Rock broiler is a cross between the Plymouth Rock and the Cornish Game; each of these breeds is a good broiler chicken. When combined, however, you get a little growing machine that reaches market weight in half as much time as either parent, using traditional breeding techniques. The GM salmon is an inferior product because it has been compromised as a living organism; under no circumstances would this organism evolve or occur in nature. The most alarming aspect of the biotech food problem is that GM foods are put on the market without any long term health or environmental safety assessment. At the very least, the FDA should require labeling of all foods containing GMOs so that consumers can choose the real foods that have sustained the human population for thousands of years.

    September 23, 2010 at 4:59 pm |
  14. Popeye

    The article forgets one important aspect of this salmon. The dna for a growth hormone from another species of salmon is added to it. Then the gene from a completely different animal is added also which turns on the production of growth hormone and doesn't let it turn off. So in essence the fish will be swimming in growth hormone. Who wants to be taking a fish growth hormone with their dinner? How safe is it? How does this growth hormone react to growing bodies of children and the aging bodies of the elderly?

    September 23, 2010 at 1:11 pm |
    • Aaron Scott

      Popeye, would it surprise you to know that humans are swimming in growth hormones, especially during development? Every meat product you have ever eaten in your life came from an animal that was swimming in growth hormones. Without growth hormone, no animal can live. These fish have a little extra growth hormone in them. I bet at one point in your life you ate a meal that included a least 3 or 4 different species, each of which came from an animal that was swimming in growth hormones – and you put them in your body all at the same time. Were you worried?

      Here's the problem. You read this article about growth hormones. My guess is that you don't really know too much about growth hormones. I don't know that much either. In fact, I think it's perfectly reasonable that a lot of people don't know much about growth hormones. What is unreasonable, however, is that instead of simply taking the time to look up a little information about growth hormones, you have convinced yourself that a fish with extra growth hormone will be dangerous to eat. You even made up your own little rhetorical argument.."who wants to be taking a fish with growth hormone with their dinner." Thank god we live in a society where complex processes aren't decided by the rhetorical arguments people make up in their heads. If you would have spent 15 minutes on wikipedia and good, you would have instantly realized that just about every animal on the planet needs growth human to growth and live.

      September 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm |
  15. makethenightmaregoaway

    industry wants to get a patent on salmon before they wipe out the wild stocks.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:02 pm |
  16. Aaron Scott

    I always naively believed that CNN readers were the smarter, more informed ones. I would be interested to know how many people who say that GM foods are dangerous for us have any understanding of genetics or biology? I always thought that making these kind of claims required at least a little bit of special knowledge. But I guess people are so ignorant they are OK with making dramatic claims about biology health and safety without absolutely no understanding of genetics or biology

    September 23, 2010 at 12:30 pm |
    • publius enigma

      Im no biologist but I think I know enough to understand that the fact that these fish are sterile implies that every batch has to be remixed. This is not like they are making 2 or even 100 then breeding the new species. They will continually have to modify dna. Now imagine what the manpower would cost. They will have to try to cut costs by hiring unskilled labor, dont you agree?

      September 23, 2010 at 1:01 pm |
      • Aaron Scott

        First, what evidence do you have that they will have to hire unskilled labor? You've made up an argument in your head, but that doesn't mean it has anything to do with reality.

        Secondly, what is wrong with unskilled labor? Doesn't unskilled labor make up a serious component of our workforce?

        September 23, 2010 at 2:45 pm |
      • publius enigma

        You cant afford to pay scientists to create food. Not if it requires someone running a process on every batch. And this is not like flipping burgers, or mixing cake batter. Using unskilled labor in a complex process like this is asking for trouble. The food industry cant even keep farm eggs clean and you want them to be processing dna? That nuts.

        September 23, 2010 at 4:22 pm |
    • makethenightmaregoaway

      and what is your field of expertise?.... without absolutely no understanding

      September 23, 2010 at 1:07 pm |
      • Aaron Scott

        I have a B.S in chemistry and PhD in cellular and molecular pathology. The PhD required significant training in the fields of genetics. I also used routinely used genetic techniques as a necessary requirements for completing the search needed for the degree.

        In all honestly I still feel only moderately qualified to speak generally about the health of GM foods

        September 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm |
    • sunnysky1

      Aaron,

      As someone with knowledge of biology, you should recognize that people, like other animals, have some degree of innate ability to determine what they should and shouldn't eat. Is it possible that human instinct is a factor in the opinions that you are reading? Also, if you are well informed about biotech foods, than you know that some biotech products have been cancelled when research revealed an increased health risk. You should also know that the recombinant DNA technique is rather random and that inserting a trait can compromise the expression of other traits; the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts, especially when it comes to nutrition.

      September 23, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
      • Jeff

        You are getting silly – you are trying so hard to talk specifically about something that you really just don't know anything about. You are oversimplifying genetic processes to a point where the statements you are making are completely meaningless. I know this is true, because you haven't even used your words correctly. For instance it's not called "recombinant DNA technique."

        Yes, you are right – it is possible that genetic insertions can disrupt genes if done improperly. Genes can be disrupted in thousands of different ways – one of them includes going outside and being exposed to UV radiation from the sun. Yet somehow we survive. A man's DNA recombines in millions of different ways every single day with sperm production.

        September 23, 2010 at 8:56 pm |
  17. Kreuzberg-Jakob

    People understand very well, what it means! Nearly every species on earth, that was brought to a continent, where it not has evolved, killed any endemic species. The best examples are Australia and Hawaii, where almost all the native fauna is extinct!
    Species, that are not natural, will kill the natural species! Everywhere they grow GMO corn, our bees are dying!
    Without bees, the whole evolution will extinct after less than 10 years!
    And they do it without need ! Only to get the power to enslave the mankind!
    People have understood very well!
    If one says, that the extermination of the whole higher developed life on earth is safe, I call him a fundamentalist friend of the earth! But mother earth won't have fun without all her children, that have evolved over 3 billion years.
    YOU need to understand, what it means!!!!!!

    September 23, 2010 at 11:42 am |
  18. Don

    Why do we go through all this? To meet the demand. There are too many people on this earth and the population growth is stretching the supply of all thing to the limit and yet, we don't hear anyone saying anything about this. the most prudent thing to do is to reduce population growth. or the earth will do it for us sooner or later through famine and starvation due to the lack of resource. It is not PC to talk about population control, yet the more people there is, the more carbon footprint people will produce, regardless how small their carbon footprint is. We need to control population growth now.

    September 23, 2010 at 11:30 am |
    • obese_gringo

      We can start by controlling the population of CEO's!

      September 23, 2010 at 11:33 am |
  19. Terry from West Texas

    What we have learned from Exxon, Enron, HP, ADM, BP, and other global corporations is that unless a saintly federal regulator is holding a gun to the head of the CEO, every corporation will lie, cheat, steal, cook the books, bribe legislators, lie to inspectors, bribe inspectors, lie to consumers, lie to investors, buy pretty girls for influential friends, bribe the county commissioner for a zoning variance, deliver cheap asphalt when high quality asphalt was called for in the contract, and never, never, never, never tell the truth about anything to any audience. They deliver one message to consumers, another to investors, another to government, another to competitors, and another to suppliers.
    We have to forget that Libertarian/Ayn Rand/Gary Cooper romantic vision of the brilliant entrepreneur. It does not describe what we see happening in front of our eyes. We are so accustomed to corporate lying that we think it is unremarkable when the corporation always downplays problems. It never just tells the damn simple truth. They say the leak is only 5,000 gallons, knowing it is much more, but hoping to cover up the difference. They say there is no defect in the product, but finally they admit that a number of people have been killed and very reluctantly they order a recall. The makers of Motrin are in the headlines today because they tried to conceal product defects. Corporations admit the truth only when they are unable to cover up the reality.
    So my questions to those who defend the introduction of frankensalmon are these. What test results were suppressed? What test animals were secretly destroyed? What "independent" scientists were chosen to test the product because of their willingness to produce desirable results? What inspectors were bribed? I don't know and we'll never know. All I know is this: no corporation can be trusted in any situation for any task. I oppose the introduction of new technology until we bring technology under control. I love science and I admire scientists. I dislike global corporations and I am in complete contempt of their leadership.
    Corporate science is to science as a whorehouse is to an art museum.

    September 23, 2010 at 10:22 am |
    • obese_gringo

      Damn straight!

      September 23, 2010 at 11:32 am |
    • Jeff

      It's interesting to here people make such dramatic claims about science, "like Corporate science is to science as a whorehouse is to an art museum."

      Tell us, what is your special experience or expertise in science that gives you the platform to make these kind of claims? To say that corperate science is a "whorehouse" shows that you don't really have any meaningful understanding of a complex topic, despite the fact you pretend to be an expert.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:19 pm |
  20. Michael

    Be sure to try our new $1 menu... McSalmon, Salmon Snack Wrap, Salmon Nuggets, Crispy Salmon Sandwich...

    September 23, 2010 at 2:48 am |
  21. Open-Minded

    Ignorance is not bliss. In fact, based upon many of the comments here I would say ignorance is leading to fear (as it often does). As a wise, short, green man once told me "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to suffering." Many people on here are fearful of what genetically modified food will do to our bodies, our health, our environment, and our society. This is causing a lot of anger toward the corporations responsible for these foods, and is causing those innocent people that are in dire need of food to suffer. (Those of us with knowledge and understanding of genetic methods are also suffering, but it's more of an internal suffering because of the media's inability to properly educate the masses on anything remotely scientific.)

    I personally have no problem with genetically modified food, depending on the modification. What surprises me again and again, is the automatic fear response to anything and everything that we are unknowledgeable about. Instead of joining the mass hysteria, take a few moments and do some research, educate yourself. We live in an era where we have more information at our fingertips, thanks to the internet, than our ancestors could have dreamed of. Yet instead of using that tool to discover and learn new things, we use it to spread rumors, fear, gossip, etc.

    A tidbit of education on genetically modified foods: They are everywhere, and have been for a very long time. As many people have pointed out, cross-breeding and selective breeding are forms of genetic modification. They are slow forms of genetic modification that take many years and decades, but they have been used for thousands of years. Another key difference between selective breeding and modern genetic modification, is the ability to use genes from other species and insert them into a different species. This is where there is a potential for issues due to food allergies. If some company chose to use a gene in chickens to enhance some aspect of salmon, I would have to be told that. I'm allergic to poultry, and using a gene from poultry could cause me to react as if I were eating poultry. The same argument could hold for people that avoid certain foods for religious or cultural reasons. So, I believe that we would have to label the food with the sources used to modify it.

    Now, A little bit of genetic modification information: How many of you are aware that corn is not a natural plant? Corn does not exist naturally. It was invented by humans about 7000 years ago from a wild grass known as teosinte. Furthermore, much of our produce today is genetically modified to be resistant to insects, diseases, and viruses. Over 80% of our corn, soybeans, rapeseed (canola), and cotton are all genetically modified in some way (in the US. These numbers are generally lower in other countries).

    Some other things to consider: If given the choice between fruits and vegetables that have been genetically modified to resist certain diseases and insects, and fruits and vegetables that have been treated with pesticides and other chemical treatments, which would you choose? Genetic modification is a safer way to rid our crops of insects and diseases (and this coming from someone working in the chemical industry). The benefits of genetic modification are almost limitless, and not just in the food industry. It is a science that has been around for quite a while, and is continuing to be further understood, which is allowing us to accomplish more good things for humanity and the Earth. Genetics has allowed us to understand diseases and their mechanisms with more precision than ever before. It's also giving us a new arsenal to use in combating these diseases as we discover chemicals and molecules in natural plants that have properties perfectly aligned to fighting certain diseases. Genetics gives us a way to make these naturally occurring chemicals and molecules more readily available. Diabetics rely on insulin to help them maintain a normal life, and that insulin is produced by E. coli bacteria that have been genetically modified. Most drugs are created by a bacterium that has been genetically modified. So if you're truly afraid of ingesting genetically modified things, think about where those pills the doctor put you on are coming from. Odds are they're from a genetically modified bacterium. I could go on...but I doubt it will accomplish anything since many who post on here are very opinionated and closed-minded.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:50 am |
    • obese_gringo

      Yeah, I'm am scared about GMO!
      You are obviously very enthralled about the science behind genetic manipulation, and you are promoting its existence as being mildly different than what Burbank did with hybridization of plant species in addition to comparing GM to the natural selection process. Using your reasoning, I guess it would be ok to cross a monkey with a human... after all, chimpanzees have a 95% identical genetic makeup to homo-sapiens.
      However, yes it does scare me when Monsanto hires scientists and technicians to create corn that will resist its other major product – glyphosate (RoundUp). What a great marketing idea, we can sell the GMO corn seed and sell the RoundUp to go with it! Heck, we can spray a little extra without having to worry about killing the corn!
      You say that GMO has been around for a long time and has not created any problems. How do you really know that? If you want to use research studies as your basis for determining "safety", perhaps you should be aware that the same companies that create GMO also create the research. They own the research, they manipulate the variables to suit their own needs, and they can legally suppress the results of any study and sue the researchers if they make the findings public. Even if you wanted to do a meaningful study into the effects of gene manipulation on crops or animals, the studies would take many years (20, 30?), and it would be impossible to control for all the variables. There is no budget to do this kind of research!

      September 23, 2010 at 9:44 am |
      • Open-Minded

        obese_gringo, I'm not even sure why I'm bothering to comment to someone that is clearly paranoid over things he seemingly has no understanding of. First of all, "crossing" a monkey with a human is not the same as genetic modification. That would be hybridization, similar to how we get mules. Furthermore, to use one example (Monsanto) as your sole basis for understanding the ins and outs of the world of genetic modification is an overly limited and biased data source. Maybe you should take a look at Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Syngenta AG, Dow Agrosciences, BASF, Bayer Cropscience, Mendel Biotechnology, ArborGen LLC, etc etc etc. As for companies owning and manipulating research, I can't say that there aren't companies that likely take these drastic measures, however I can assure that in most instances this is not the case. There are stringent regulations and IQ, OQ, PQ validations that need to be met. There are years upon years of research done before these products even get ready to hit the markets. Not only that, but there are many universities that work with these companies to assist in research. Universities do not participate in, nor tolerate, falsification or covering-up of research findings. As I stated in my previous post, use the internet and go do some research, but please be wary of believing everything you read. Sometimes we have to use common sense when deciding what to believe.

        October 1, 2010 at 1:25 am |
  22. Matthew Rosario

    I'm not quite sure people are digesting the implications of such an introduction–not just to the food supply (which will of course eventually have no choice between organic and genetically modified foods)–but also the food economy. This is the kind of short term economic thinking that has completely destroyed local domestic food markets. Point being, all the signs exemplify a classic motivation for economic gain despite what guise of ending world hunger might be promulgated here. They are talking about increasing yields in harvesting, AKA: flooding the market with more "salmon". This is exactly what happened in the 1950's and 60's when the government subsidized farmers to keep corn and grain prices reasonable for them to live. Farmers over produced and continued to flood the market in efforts to make more profit, yet simultaneously drove prices further down and destroyed profit margins all over again. It's a never ending cycle. In this scenario, cheap genetically engineered salmon floods the market, so now fisherman try to increase their yields even more to increase profit margins and despite how much salmon is caught it will never be enough because the market is too flooded. This actually leads to WASTED food. Therefore food is not scarce by default, it is WASTED by efforts to increase profits driven by greed. There is no problem of world hunger that cannot be solved by salvaging wasted food. Yet in this scenario, by increasing market yields artificially to increase profits in the short term you effectively destroy profits over time and have the same problem all over again and you won't be able to go back.

    September 23, 2010 at 1:20 am |
    • Jeff

      Do you have any data to back up your claims about how the fish industry may respond to genetically engineered salmon? I'm not an expert, but it seems to me this would be a very complex subject.

      You make many dramatic claims about what "will" happen. But just because you say it doesn't make it true. Again, what is your evidence?

      September 23, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  23. Dalim

    Think about this fast growing salmon escapes to the wild and competing with the engendered one. How about the all powerful corporates have more control of our food source?

    September 23, 2010 at 1:14 am |
  24. Jeff

    It's so funny that probably 2 or 3 out of 100 people who post here have any real concepts of genetics and biology. Honestly people, instead of being so sure of yourselves, spend a day with a biology book if you really want to get informed and at least come somewhere within the ballpark of an informed decision

    September 23, 2010 at 1:11 am |
    • George

      Ok Jeff seems that your mister know it all I’m just gonna play devils advocate for grins. Let me pose a question from a stand point of ecological concern about this fish.

      Assuming that only 5% of this modified fish is considered fertile and people such as your self feel theres no way in heck that this fish could establish a breeding population.

      Have you factored in the fact that roughly 2,165,321 tonnes of farmed salmon are harvested annually. Now lets just say 2,165,321 tonnes of this GMO is harvested annually for the next 20-50yrs .(of course that number will bound to go up annually) Now factor in storms equipment failure and human failure.

      Lets just say that amounts to 7% of farmed stocks escaping annually and assume 1% are the quote fertile fish. That still seems to be a lot of breeding potential when your factoring in 20 30 40 and 50yrs down the road.

      September 23, 2010 at 3:30 am |
      • George

        Now thats out of the way let me address the inland pens idea for farming these fish. While it more then likely will bring potential wild breeding down to a fat chance. Need I mention the massive waste of water resources. On top of just plan old taking up valuable space on top of the various chemical elements. Especially oh lets say you got one of these inland ponds in say Montana or Utah....

        These fish will need salt water at some point or have I totally over looked that they’ve spliced these guys to totally live in fresh water totally forgoing a section of there life cycle. Ecologically questions seriously need to be asked about these types of GMO "solutions"

        September 23, 2010 at 3:31 am |
      • Jeff

        Are you just making these numbers up? From what data are you concluding that 7% of GM fish will escape, and 1% of these fish will be fertile? Points are easy to argue when you simply invent your own numbers...

        But, to be honest, I agree with your general point – that probably the biggest concern with this type of science is ecological in nature – that is, what would be the consequences if this fish were put in the wild? I am not sure, but clearly there needs to be data.

        My general statement was intended only against those automatically equate "genetically modified" engineering with dangerous, without having any meaningful understanding of genetics or genetic engineering. I think skepticism of new things that are not intuitively understood, like genetic engineering, is natural, and probably beneficial human trait. Healthy skepticism, however, is very different than going to public forums are spouting off overgeneralized answers about complex topics to which people generally have very little background or informed information on.

        So, my original point stands. Spend a day with a biology textbook and get informed. These anecdotal arguments that GM foods are dangerous because we are "tampering with nature" just don't contort with reality in any meaningful way.

        September 23, 2010 at 12:10 pm |
  25. mike

    Genetically modified plants are fine.. but muscle tissue comes from a completely different organism.. I am not a vegetarian first and foremost but i would like to see a video on how genetically modified animals compare to natural ones.. and if its not bad inject a human with it. or wait could there be some side effects to humans that dont happen to animals?? lol Anyone who approves genetically modified salmon into the market should approve genetically modified humans.. "you are what you eat"

    September 23, 2010 at 1:10 am |
    • Jeff

      Mike, did you know that many vaccinations are actually injections of bacterial and viral DNA into your body?

      September 23, 2010 at 1:23 am |
  26. Cody

    It is one thing to selectivity breed plants and animals for desired flavor, yield, color, and so on. This is simply a practice of choosing between physical traits that suit out current condition. The genes behind the traits which we select, and further breed already exist in nature. Although some of these initial traits are then bred our of the gene pool, they can still be traced to some sort of selective natural structure. Breeding is an entirely different practice on every level than gene manipulation. Our youngest generation (30 somethings and under) is already suffering from the negative effects of changes in modern food production from recent "advances" like high fructose corn syrup, and trans fats, that are still not fully understood. If we allow ourselves to give in to industry we will be signing our lives, and most likely the environment away to corrupt federal food regulators, and greedy industry. It is no coincidence that the people that run the FDA, USDA, and NOAA are all former CEO's, lawyer's, and consultants of every major food conglomerate in the country.

    Think About: Yourself; your children; your neighbors; American farmers, ranches, and fisherman; the environment

    And, always question authority

    September 23, 2010 at 1:00 am |
  27. publius enigma

    Ask yourself this – would you trust GM food if it came from China?

    September 23, 2010 at 12:51 am |
  28. Troy

    It's disheartening to see most people supporting GM foods here really have no clue how they are made. They're just wondering in from Facebook, posting their usual uneducated rhetoric formulated out of opinion. Jersey Shore has more of an impact on these people's opinion than actual science. "I ate a seedless grape last night and didn't get a tumor! GM foods rock!"

    These people somehow believe that these scientists, being all magically smart like they are, dropped some fish in a barrel and they did their business and now we can has a super fish, isn't it so great. Thankfully there are some of us who know breeding seedless plants is not the equivalent of GM foods.

    GM foods are a few scientists mutating the genes of cow's fetus to give it 2 heads. Why? Because a 2 headed cow would be awesome! And, because they can, and it'll make them a lot of money.

    How they do it? Alter the DNA of an embryo with mutated genes concocted from the worlds most dangerous viruses. This is how Monsanto created the 'patented' piece of corn you want to eat for dinner btw.

    What they end up with? Cancerous mutants, but who cares it's almost time to cash in. Technology has surpassed man's ability to think rationally. No but seriously, I would love to take a gander at the companies testing data. I'm still shocked there are people who trust this company to not only produce their food, but to tamper with the entire genetic infrastructure of the resource they are producing. It's like metallurgy, only with organic material people plan to eat and feed to children as food source.

    These fish are created by the same people that brought you the DNA altered Glowfish. Which is trademarked btw. You know the fish they say you should definitely NOT eat because it's genetically modified, or maybe they just don't taste good. Point is, we've seen what happens when man starts messing with nature, companies like this have destroyed countless eco systems in the name of profit.

    Earth is too nice for mankind, and will fall victim to it's own laws of nature if it can't adapt faster than we can.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:45 am |
    • Jeff

      Troy, I like your passion. The problem, and I honestly mean this respectfully, is that you just really don't have any idea what your talking about. Seriously man get any basic genetics or biology texbtook and spend a day reading it. It's great that your passionate, but it's sad to see so much information from your that doesn't contort with reality in any meaningful way

      September 23, 2010 at 1:13 am |
  29. John Lane

    Maybe GMO are safe, maybe not, maybe some are and some aren't – we DON'T really know. I've studied biochem and biophysics. We DON'T really know ahead of time all the consequences of a certain genetic modification of a species. Take a chance with our food supply? it's madness.

    Even if we assume the large, GMO salmon are safe (which I'm not willing to assume, since we don't know), the fact is their introduction would have serious ecological effects. The GMO salmon would change the ocean ecology – with unpredictable results.

    All GMO foods MUST be labelled as such, and the label must tell HOW they have been modified – so that the consumer can choose. I resent extremely food companies cramming their cr-p down my throat against my will. To h-ll with their profits! Especially those that want to control the food industry with their patents.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:44 am |
  30. publius enigma

    If the salmon are sterile then that means that every batch has to be modified as opposed to creating 2 then letting them breed. Who will do that processing work? Obviously it will have to be the lowest paid workers that industry can get away with. Are you really sure you want to trust genetic engineering to an industry that cant even keep farm eggs clean?

    September 23, 2010 at 12:41 am |
    • Cody

      The lowest bidder scenario (tragic ultimation) might be the scariest thought of all given the current state of the American food industry.

      September 23, 2010 at 1:03 am |
  31. Edward

    To all of you afraid of the genetically modified food, I have only one question, has anyone of you ever taking a biology course during highschool or college? It is pretty obvious that most of you haven't and probably dont know anything about the subject, not even what a gene is, let alone enzymes, coenzymes, amino acids and polypeptide chains. If you have, you, like me, will understand that any organic matter that enters your stomach is literally shredded to pieces, including the DNA of the cells you just consume. This is done because your stomach cannot absorb nutrients if they aren't process to a simpler state, since proteins (which are very small already) are too big to diffuse through the stomach walls. Genes are similair to proteins since they are too big to enter your system. And lets assume you were to absorb a whole gene from that GM food, and that by some miracle of nature that gene binded to one of your cells (which is 1 in 10^99 probability of happening, and if you dont know what 10^99 means take a math course), that one cell would be destroyed by your organism since one, the cell would not function with a new gene since it is already functioning with a set of given genes (even if a nerve cell and muscle cell have the same genes they dont use the same genes to work) therefore it simply will not make what those new genes are telling it to, and if it managed to do so, the cell would be destroyed by the inmune system. So in short there is no way something like a spiderman scenario could ever happen.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:39 am |
    • publius enigma

      No one is talking about eating bad genes so thats a strawman argument.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:43 am |
    • Derek

      Did you actually read the entire article Edward? I'm getting the impression that you read the headline and then sprang into action on your keyboard.

      September 24, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  32. Derek

    I noticed that there are three ridiculous recurring arguments that are used to promote GMO foods. These arguments neither address the ethical question or make any sense on their own. These arguments are as follows.

    1) People have eaten GMO foods and survived.

    2) GMO foods are the same as foods that were produced through selective cultivation and breeding.

    3) People should eat GMO foods because they already eat things that are bad for their health.

    These arguments are idiotic and here's why:
    1) you don't really know if those people have survived and what if GMO foods have non-fatal long term effects on the consumer or the environment the consumer lives in? I knew a kid who ate a leggo on e and survived, does that mean you are going to eat leggos?
    2) Selective breeding is in no way like genetic modification. Picking the best swine to breed more swine is not the same as splicing the genes of a virus into the genes of a algae and then splicing whatever the heck that is with a fish.
    3) Just because you eat something bad doesn't mean you should eat all things that are bad. Yes you shouldn't eat fast food but, if you do eat fast food that doesn't mean you should give up and eat any dangerous thing you can get your hands on.

    Ultimately the writing is on the wall. All of those of you who support this now, will in time, be shown to be wrong. Just like when we were having this argument over genetically altered plant crops. In that case the GMO product spread into the world's food supply and has permanently ruined corn as we once knew it. It's funny, where did all the proponents of that idea go?

    You know what, if you are that short-sighted maybe you should eat leggo.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:38 am |
    • Edward

      please dude spare me the pain of having to write more, your argument obviously bases itself on your own superstitional believes regarding genetic modification. Like I said, you probably havent even studied biology to give any logical argument about this. The fact is that there is no need of ethics when you already know what you are introducing into the new breed. Second of all, its not like those genes will create any kind of poison or some harmful agent for the consumer, this is not like a hollywood movie. Third, selective breeding IS a type of genetic modification on the long run, just look at the original corn plant and compare it to the current corn plant, way too different on from another. Fourth, your argument like that of those people scared of this new technology is based on pure ignorance and bias, please people, go to college and study biology and some math, I promise it will help you alot, hell maybe youll even stop believing in superstitions like god and dangerous geneticaly modified foods.

      September 23, 2010 at 12:46 am |
      • simp

        For someone who claims to understand the finer points of biology/biochem you obviously do not!!!! There is a huge difference between a GMO(gene spliced organism/transgenic organism) and stock that has been selectively breed via husbandry or what ever vertical technique..... GMO means genes being placed(including from completely unrelated species) or turned off via any number of laboratory means.

        September 23, 2010 at 1:17 am |
      • Derek

        Edward,

        By invoking questions of educational credentials you have of course drawn instant attention to your own insecurities about your level of education. But, that is an aside. You are allowed to have your own opinion about GMO's and if your only concern is determining if something is outright poisonous or not then by all means help yourself to a nice big plate of non-poison. I personally do not believe nutrition and the molecular biology of human beings is that simple. I do not believe that enough is known about GMO's to say for certain that they will not effect consumers or the environment in a negative way (which has already happened in numerous cases with genetically modified plants). But, I cannot do that if the FDA doesn't require producers to properly label the product because I will not know which type of food is which. So, Edward as an apparently happy consumer of GMO's, how does my desire to know if my food has been genetically altered infringe upon your right to consume genetically altered food?

        September 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm |
  33. Thinkorswim

    I've had the pleasure and privilege to commercially fish for salmon during the summer months in Bristol Bay, Alaska. Few people can grasp the joy of harvesting a delectable fish that has spent 1-3 years feeding in the North Pacific. Wild caught Atlantic salmon stocks are basically depleted, and should you come across salmon marketed as Scottish, Norwegian, Atlantic, or Chilean, they are essentially farm raised. Grown in pens, fed antibiotics and synthetic foods, these Frankenfish wallow in their own feces and many drown due to unnatural production of slime, and even the color of their flesh is unnatural. A common bumper sticker in fishing towns and villages throughout Alaska is "Farmed Salmon Dyed For You." Anybody seen Food Inc. and the deplorable conditions of beef, poultry, and pork farms/slaughter houses? If you want a premium wild caught product, be willing to pay a higher price, or buy cheap farm raised salmon and don't complain of any unexpected consequences.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:36 am |
  34. Frank

    Eat only organic foods.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:30 am |
  35. barbara

    working in a lab for 16 years with pathologists (the dr's who know EVERYTHING about the human body and make up) and hearing them complain about humans are having a huge increase in health issues mainly because of the hormones injected in our meat supply and all the antibiotics and pesticides used on our meats and crops , there is no way i would eat this garbage. the same thing it does to the food, it will do to you. listen to them all you want, its not worth it. girls are going into sexual reproduction as young as age 7 now from the hormones in our meat, there is a huge increase in andromegaly *people with giant body parts*, heart disease, lung disease, mental disorders, reproductive deformities. no way will my family eat this. i barely eat the meats and stuff they sell now. in the old days it was just straight food. healthy animals, fed real grains and cattle feed. now each hamburger you eat has a years worth of steroids, pesticides, antibiotics, and God knows what in it. rediculious. humans need to stop trying to improve Gods creation. you can't. he made everything and every process for a reason. look at the issues with each animal that goes extinct. the bee may be gone soon. guess what, we need those pesty little bees too keep earth growing. keep on "improving"

    September 23, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  36. obese_gringo

    I'm really impressed by the well thought-out postings... better than on most web articles. However, it is the FDA who needs to be impressed, and unfortunately the head of the FDA is a politically-appointed position and is subject to the lobbying efforts of the powerful biofood and pharma companies. So good luck!

    September 23, 2010 at 12:21 am |
  37. Rich M

    Kelsey and Mac have brought up an important point. In fact, a PhD from UPenn on WTOP (a DC area news radio channel) who was interviewed on 9.22.10 agreed that some of the fish will likely escape. Since 5% of them are fertile, they will probably breed in the open ocean and could pose serious threats to native species. From what I recall, the PhD stated the GM fish could indeed outcompete Pacific and Atlantic Salmon and thus become a tremendous problem.

    Whether its safe to eat or not I don't know, but its clear we need to be 100% sure this GM fish won't breed before allowing it to be farmed; the risks and potential costs are too great.

    September 23, 2010 at 12:10 am |
1 2
Pinterest
 
| Part of
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,388 other followers