After raising a nationwide controversy with its creation, the AquAdvantage salmon is in the news again, this time with parties militating for the labeling of GMOs.
The argument currently raging is about the labeling of the fish as a GMO. Even though a previous bill has been passed determining the labeling pointless, since it says nothing about the actual way it’s genetically modified.
Since the salmon was determined to pose no difference in calories, vitamins, toxins, artificial colors, or any other nutritional characteristics to the real salmon, there are groups militating against the labeling.
Whether the FDA will go back on their decision to not label the fish will remain to be seen, but for now the large number of pro and counter militant groups is saying that finally, as a people, we decided to care about what we put in our bodies.
The salmon itself
The company inserted a growth gene from the biggest known species of salmon (the Chinook salmon) into the Atlantic salmon (the most consumed species), as well as a growth promoter from the eel-like ocean pout.
Thus, they assured the animal’s continuous growth, and the scientists from Aquaculture developed a new genetically modified organism.
The much larger salmon, dubbed by critics the “Frankenfish”, is about 25% more effective in being converted into food than the salmon we’re used to is.
It also grows continuously, unlike its non-modified counterpart which only grows seasonally.
A large number of groups are dismayed over FDA’s approval of the GMO for consumption, threatening to sue any location commercializing the fish.
This has determined multiple units across the United States, like Costco, Safeway and Target, to change their minds about selling the product, even though they had already purchased the fish and stocked their inventories.
Most of the concerns circle around the possibility of the fish escaping and breeding in the wild, thus leading to potentially destroyed fauna, as well as the possibility of causing health issues in humans.
The FDA denies the claims, claiming that over the 20-year study, there were no cases of human illnesses caused by the GMO, and that the two GM salmon farms in Canada will take serious measures to make sure that the fish don’t escape into the wild.
Not only that, but the fish will be sterile, so as to ensure that even if an animal or a fertilized egg were to escape, it would not mate with other animals.
Image source: Wikimedia