“Frankenfish” – the first GMO animal to enter US food supply – gains FDA approval

Photograph of DNA helix “ladders”

“Genetically modified  “FrankenFI$H”  no good,  master…

By David Gurney

A week ago, in a deal struck last May that was purposely hushed-up by the Obama administration until after the election, and released during the holiday season, the FDA announced approval of controversial plans for genetically modified salmon to enter American stores and restaurants, to be sold and eaten without labeling.

The public has 60 days after Dec. 21 to offer comment to the Food and Drug Administration before final approval.

According to the Organic Consumers Association, if the proposal is granted final approval, GMO salmon will be the first animal to enter the U.S. food supply.

Aquaculture has been around for quite a while, with farmed salmon now accounting for over half the world’s demand for the fish, in a multi-billion dollar world-wide industry.

But AquaBounty, a biotech firm with offices in Boston and Prince Edward Island, is not just into fish-farming. They’re into ‘Frankenfish’ farming.  Frankenfish grow up in tanks at twice the rate of regular farmed salmon.

There are fears that if these aggressive superfish with modified genes escape into the wild, natural salmon DNA, entire populations of smaller fish, and possibly the food chain itself, could collapse.

The company claims the salmon are sterile and that their inland fish pens offer absolutely no chance of escape.  In their proposal, the gene mutated eggs will be produced in Canada, then shipped to Panama to be reared in land-locked tanks.

But around 5 percent of genetically modified female salmon remain fertile, and the possibility exists that the mutated genes could enter the natural world either by negligence or misconduct.  Regular “farmed” salmon are raised in sheltered, open ocean “sea pens.”  At these operations, escaped fish are common, sometimes numbering in the thousands.

Sea-pens off B.C., Canada.  Courtesy of the BC Salmon Farmers Association

 

‘Frankenfish’  for human consumption are also said to carry allergies, hormonal imbalances leading to cancer, and a host of other health and envirnmental risks.

But it’s a sure way to make buck, and twice as fast.

Now there’s a good line for a Mark Graham song.

“I’m just a poor,  Frankenfish farmer…”

 

Please also see:  LINK, and LINK and LINK.

And sign the Petition, to stop the FDA’s approval of Frankenfish.

from the OCA website:

Tell the FDA:  NO Frankenfish

What is frankenfish?

“AquaBounty Technologies, a Massachusetts-based biotech company, created the “AquAdvantage” salmon by injecting a fragment of DNA from an ocean pout fish, which is a type of eel, along with a growth hormone gene from the Chinook Pacific salmon, into a fertilised Atlantic salmon egg. The result? A salmon that produces growth hormone year round, instead of only during warm weather. This allows the fish to reach market weight in just 18 months, instead of the usual three years.

Only 95% of the AquAdvantage salmon may be sterile, the rest fertile. Plus, the fish at the egg production facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada, will not be sterile. The FDA says the likelihood of the GE salmon escaping into the wild is “extremely remote” but gave little reassuring evidence to support that assumption. According to studies, the frankenfish eat five times more food than wild salmon, and have less fear of predators. All it would take is for some of these frankenfish to escape, and the world’s wild salmon population would be at risk.

The first genetically engineered salmon – dubbed “frankenfish” – could be in grocery stores and restaurants as early as 2014. The FDA is expected to approve AquaBounty Technologies’ GE salmon after a 60-day public comment period. If approved, it will be the first approved food from a transgenic animal application to enter the U.S. food supply.

Consumer and environmental activists oppose genetically engineered “frankenfish” for many reasons, including the potential danger it poses to human health, to the environment and to the U.S. fishing economy. Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with the Consumers Union, the advocacy and policy arm of Consumer Reports, called the FDA’s Environmental Assessment (EA) of GE salmon “flawed and inadequate.”

Potential harm to human health. The FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six GE fish. Even with such limited testing, the results showed an increase in allergy-causing potential, according to Hansen. AquAdvantage also contains elevated levels of the growth hormone, IGF-1, which is linked to prostate, breast and colon cancers.”

read more: HERE

 

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