Last month the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) approved the first Genetically Modified food animal, salmon, for inclusion in the human food supply. The approval came after minimal testing, involving just a few dozen fish, performed by the company applying for the license. Worryingly the ‘fish’, which is part salmon and part eel, has been approved as a ‘drug’ and not a food stuff — which makes the whole matter even more confusing. Despite evidence to suggest labelling of salmon (wild versus farmed) is already alarmingly inaccurate, the FDA have decided that voluntary labelling of this new GM salmon is ‘sufficient’. Consumer backlash has already begun, focusing on the following key issues:
- The threat of the modified fish gene mixing with existing stocks, and wiping out wild salmon.
- The huge nutritional differences in the fish — much more fat and less protein.
- The total lack of high quality studies or long term analysis on the ‘fish’ as a human food.
An analysis of GM studies in the Journal of Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition in 2009 already linked GM crops to “common toxic effects such as hepatic, pancreatic, renal, or reproductive effects and may alter the hematological, biochemical, and immunologic parameters.”
So, if you are worried about the implications of unlabeled GM fish getting onto your plate, without enough research and clinical trials to make a thorough and honest assessment, we advise writing to supermarkets and government officials stating your preferences for eating natural food which nourishes the consumer, and not just food producers’ profits.References