These days, folks are growing burgers in test tubes and harvesting lettuce in space, so the following news should come as no surprise: The FDA just approved a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as the average salmon.
What the world as deemed as the first-ever “Frankenfish” is a salmon that contains growth hormones from a Chinbook Salmon and genes from an eel-like ocean pout combined together to create a fish ready to eat in just a year and a half, in comparison to the three years it takes for the average salmon to grow.
— Barbara Upton (@upton1144) November 19, 2015
The Atlantic salmon was created by AquaBounty, a Massachusetts-based biotechnology firm specializing in aquaculture. According to The Washington Post, the FDA’s approval to release the genetically modified salmon took twenty years based on “sound science and a comprehensive review.”
But it looks as though not everyone is ready to say yes to the Frankenfish. Many are fearful that the release of the salmon is the first step in the creation of countless other genetically modified foods that could potentially be unsafe to the public’s health. The FDA has stated that a GMO label will not be explicitly stated on the salmon’s packaging, making it impossible to know whether or not you are consuming the fish. The Washington Post reports the FDA will only require a label if there is “a material difference—such as a different nutritional profile—between the GE product and its non-GE counterpart. In the case of the [AquaBounty] Salmon, the FDA did not find any such differences.”
— Mike Reed (@MikeP_Reed) November 19, 2015
But if you are as uncomfortable with the idea of a genetically modified animal as the many of us are, rest assured, over 60 grocery store chains in the United States have agreed to not sell the salmon including Safeway, Kroger, Target, Whole Foods, and Trader Joe’s.
In a poll created by The New York Times, 75% of voters said they would not eat the genetically modified fish, with another 1.8 million protestors writing to the FDA to change its decision to release the fish to the public. Critics claim the fish may pose potential environmental and health risks, mainly with the current salmon population.
While many are against the FDA approval, AquaBounty chief executive Ron Stotish explains, “we think this is good for science, we think it’s good for aquaculture, we think it’s good for consumers.”
[via The Washington Post]