“Canada Approves GMO Salmon” – (Ecowatch)

Boo!

Though not my reaction, I am guessing that is what they were going for. As is the typical MO of these people.

Anyway, as one can guess, the article is exploring the shocked outcry and outrage with Health Canada’s decision to approve AquaBounty Technologies new GMO salmon. Already, the US has banned import of the fish (though the USDA also approved the fish, its import is pending on getting GMO labeling standardized thoughout the US). And many stores on both sides of the boarder are also beginning to vocally refuse to sell the fish.

Though the approval of this salmon is news, I have heard of this salmon before (maybe a year or 2 back). I am not sure if I did a piece here, but I think I did a small explaination on facebook.

The company started with a typical Atlantic Salmon. To its 40,000 genes, they added a growth hormone regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook Salmon, and a promoter from an ocean pout.

image

Atlantic Salmon

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Pacific Salmon

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Ocean Pout

Being that Atlantic Salmon has a much slower growth rate than its Pacific counterpart, the gene that makes the diffrence was added, and put under the control of the ocean pouts promoter. A promoter being a sequence of DNA that turns on the expression of a gene.

http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/GeneticEngineering/GeneticallyEngineeredAnimals/ucm473238.htm

The FDA, Health Canada (and likley more to come) have found the fish to be safe for human consumption. Not surprising, being that it does not contain anything we are npt already likley consuming. The requirments also mandate strict control so as there is little to no chance of escape into the wild. They can not be kept in ocean pens as some varieties are. In fact, the fish are only allowed to be cultivated in 2 locations. 1 in Canada (where breeding stock are kept), and one in Panama (where eggs from the Canadian facility are grown and shipped to market).

As mandated, and and checked VIA inspection by the FDA.

So, with the education out of the way, lets see what the fear mongers are saying. First off, we have this quote.

“Health Canada’s approval is irresponsible and disappointing. But regardless of this approval, there is no market for genetically engineered salmon,” Dana Perls, food and technology campaigner at Friends of the Earth U.S., said. “Consumers don’t want to eat it and grocery stores won’t sell it.”

Thanks for speaking for me.

You are right in assuming that many stores won’t sell it. They don’t want to lose money by driving away the increasingly large fear mongering moron demographic.
But not all consumers “do not want it”. I personally do not give a fuck about this fishes status as GMO. I would eat it. Just as I consume soy, alfalfa, corn and who knows what else.

Seventy-five percent of respondents to a New York Times poll said they would not eat genetically engineered salmon and 1.8 million people sent letters to the FDA opposing approval of the so-called “frankenfish.”

This is why so many stores are talking a stand. Good PR.

I am not surprised that a majority of respondants told the NYT that they would not eat this salmon, and that millions more wrote to and bitched out the FDA.

I would be far more impressed by these numbers if only those that had a good grasp on how this stuff even works were refrenced and counted. I even count MYSELF out of that catagory. Let alone the rest of these social media drones.

“Canadians could now be faced with the world’s first GMO food animal, approved with no public consultation and no labeling,” Lucy Sharratt, coordinator of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network, said

The labeling thing could be seen as a valid argument (though these days, I see it as doing more harm than good).

But public consultation? Really?

For one thing, if the public had its way, we know exactly what would happen. It would go the same way as the noisy sunchips compostable chip bag.
And for another, since when does the food (or any other) industry consult the public before making an offering available?
An argument can be made for this process. But being its not standard, its not really honest to demonize a company for just, following a typical business custom.

A growing body of science suggests that GMO salmon may pose seriousenvironmental and public health risks, including potentially irreversible damage to wild salmon populations.

“GM salmon production threatens the future of wild Atlantic salmon,” Calinda Brown of the Ecology Action Centre said. “Retailers can protect consumers and the environment by making sure this GM fish never makes it to grocery store shelves.”

It is true that there are concerns about what affects this fish will have on outside species, should escape occur. But this has all been taken into consideration in the construction of the facilities.

The canadian facility is not open at all. And the Panama facility is in an inhospitable environment for salmon survival (waterways are to warm).
Indeed, the process of shipping eggs, than fish, is energy intensive. But it is a minor kink that needs to be worked out. In fact, a kink that may not even exist if it were not for all of this extreme fear over nothing.

Overall, there is not much to see here. Just a fish, with genes of 2 other fish. Both of which are considered edible on their own.

A perfect example of the mere accrynum of GMO creating a reactionary debate.

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