What is in this article?:
- GM salmon in final jumps of regulatory run
- Science trumping politics
- As soon as next year, salmon could become more abundant and less expensive.
- GM salmon must overcome the harsh opposition of radical anti-biotech groups.
- The introduction of fishery-raised GM salmon will remove pressure from wild stock, it’s even good for the environment.
If you enjoy the taste and healthy benefits of salmon, and appreciate that it is available to you, you may want to share your thoughts with the federal government as soon as possible.
Why? Because the Food and Drug Administration just declared that genetically modified salmon “is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon,” and they are looking for your feedback.
As soon as next year, salmon could become more abundant and less expensive, meaning that salmon lovers will enjoy this heart-healthy food more easily and often.
Before that can happen, however, GM salmon must overcome the harsh opposition of radical anti-biotech groups. This should not have to be a concern. Unfortunately, it is, and failure would deliver a devastating blow not just to a safe product, but also to the very idea of improving our food security with biotechnology.
On December 21, the FDA released an extensive report on GM salmon and opened a 60-day comment period for citizens and organizations to register their opinions. Think of it as the final jumps in a long regulatory salmon run. As this phase proceeds, officials should hear an important message: Consumers know GM salmon is safe and look forward to eating it.
Developed by a Massachusetts company, GM salmon grows to market size in half the time. It achieves this feat by blending the genes of Atlantic salmon with a growth gene from a Chinook salmon and an anti-freeze gene from an ocean pout.
In every other respect, this is an ordinary salmon: It tastes the same and it’s just as healthy. Because the introduction of fishery-raised GM salmon will remove pressure from wild stock, it’s even good for the environment. We’ll have more salmon on our grills as well as in our seas and streams.
I have a special interest in wild salmon because I own a fishing lodge in Alaska. We depend on salmon to thrive in their natural habitat.
Fortunately, GM salmon pose no threat. For starters, they’re sterile and can’t mate. They’re also confined to indoor containers. One of the major test facilities was built in the mountains of Panama, on the theory that even in the unlikely event of a catastrophe; the cold-dependent GM salmon would perish in the regions warm and muddy waters. Similar safeguards would accompany any commercial production.
Because so much care has gone into their advent, GM salmon are on the verge of becoming the first genetically improved animals approved for food consumption.
It’s about time. The regulatory-approval process started long ago. The first GM salmon was created in 1989, during the first Bush administration. The FDA got involved 17 years ago, during the Clinton administration. As Jon Entine recently pointed out in a detailed investigation for Slate, the online magazine, the Obama administration was ready to issue its approval last year but dragged its feet for political rather than scientific reasons: It wanted to avoid a pre-election controversy.