Category Archives: GMOs

Genetically Engineered Salmon

Salmon is one of my favorite types of fish, for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it is so healthy. And many of my friends and family consume a lot of salmon as well, for the same reason. But what many people perhaps do not know, is that not all salmon is the same, and not all types of salmon are as healthful as others, either for those of us who consume it or for the environment.

Salmon consumed in the United States varies by species, product, origin (domestic and imported) and type (wild and farmed). There are significant differences between Pacific and Atlantic salmon consumption in products, origin and

Species: Americans consume five species of Pacific salmon (chinook, sockeye, coho, pink and chum) as well as Atlantic salmon. These species vary considerably in size, taste and suitability for different kinds of products.

Origin: Americans consume both domestic and imported salmon.

Product: Americans consume salmon that is initially processed or imported in three major product forms: canned, frozen and fresh.

Type: Americans consume both farmed and wild salmon.

But there could soon be another classification of salmon on the market, genetically engineered.

The following is from an article published by Reuters on December 21, 2012, which states that a controversial genetically engineered salmon has moved a step closer to your grocery store and restaurant table after the US. Food and Drug Administration said Friday the fish didn’t appear likely to pose a threat to the environment or to humans who eat it.

AquAdvantage salmon eggs would produce fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. If it gets final approval, it would be the first food from a transgenic animal – one whose genome has been altered – to be approved by the FDA.

The AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon egg was developed by AquaBounty Technology to speed up production to meet global seafood demand.

“With respect to food safety, FDA has concluded that food from AquAdvantage salmon is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from consumption,” the FDA assessment states.

AquaBounty officials said they were caught by surprise by the news that its product was a step closer to approval as years of controversy had followed the company’s application for a go-ahead from the regulator.

“We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process,” said AquaBounty Chief Executive Ronald Stotish.

Critics say the new salmon is a “dangerous experiment” and have pressured the FDA to reject it. They say the FDA has relied on outdated science and substandard methods for assessing the new fish.

“We are deeply concerned that the potential of these fish to cause allergic reactions has not been adequately researched,” said Michael Hansen, a scientist at the Consumers Union. “FDA has allowed this fish to move forward based on tests of allergenicity of only six engineered fish, tests that actually did show an increase in allergy-causing potential.”

There were also concerns the FDA would not require the genetically modified salmon to be labeled as such, and some critics said they may file a lawsuit to prevent what they fear could be the imminent approval of the engineered fish.

“Congress can still keep FDA from unleashing this dangerous experiment,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, a consumer advocacy group. “Although this latest FDA decision is a blow to consumer confidence, we encourage everyone to contact their members of Congress and demand this reckless decision be overturned.”

The Center for Food Safety, another non-profit consumer protection group, was highly critical of the FDA report, and officials said they might sue the regulator over the issue.

“It is extremely disappointing that the Obama Administration continues to push approval of this dangerous and unnecessary product,” said Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety. “The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value. It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment.”

FDA spokeswoman Morgan Liscinsky said no final decisions have been made on labeling or on the application for approval.

“The release of these materials is not a decision on whether food from AquAdvantage Salmon requires additional labeling; nor is it a decision on the new animal drug application currently under review. It also does not provide a final food safety determination,” Liscinsky said.

The AquAdvantage salmon would be an all-female population with eggs produced in a facility on Prince Edward Island in Canada and shipped to a “grow-out facility” in Panama, where they would be reared to market size and harvested for processing.

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I’ll keep you posted on the outcome of the pending FDA approval

in the meantime, here is one of my favorite recipes for salmon, my friend Dani and I discovered it on Allrecipes.com a few winters ago when I was staying with her and her mom in Connecticut.

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Ingredients:

4 cloves of garlic

6 tablespoons of olive oil

2 teaspoons dried basil

2 teaspoons ground black pepper

2 table spoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons fresh parsley

2 (6 ounce each) fillets of salmon

Directions:

In a medium glass bowl, prepare the marinade by mixing garlic, light olive oil, basil, salt, pepper, lemon juice and parsley. Place salmon fillets in a medium glass baking dish, and cover with the marinade. Marinate in the refrigerator about 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Preheat Oven to 375 degrees

Place filets in a baking dish, cover with marinade and aluminum foil.

Bake 35 to 45 minutes, or until fish is easily flaked with a fork.

We like serving it with homemade sweet potato fries.

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