…aquabounty salmon


does that sound exciting to you?

it does if you stand to make lots of money selling salmon that combines growth hormone genes from pacific salmon with DNA from an eelpout (whatever the heck that is…). the new fish, called AquAdvantage, would produce growth hormone year-round, so it would grow twice as fast as normal, non-freakish, atlantic salmon.

are you licking your chops yet?

but, wait, it gets better.

because of some weird technicalities with regulations with the FDA and the DEA and the US Patent Office, and whoever else might conceivably be involved here, it was sort of unclear how to go about actually getting clearance for a creature whose flesh was meant for human consumption. any other time government agencies have been approached for this sort of thing, it has been to grow things in animal medium where the animal was the petri dish, but was never meant to breed or mix with other animals or come into contact with other species (for example, medicines that were cultured in goat bodies, where the goats were destroyed after they grew the batch of medicine they were needed for).

to get around this potential complication, the makers of AA offered (very graciously, i might add) to ship their fertilized eggs over to panama (where lucky for the world no actual human beings live, and there is no water that connects to any other body of water…), and the fish could be raised in confinement over there. the female fish would be sterile.

well, mostly sterile.

okay, so about 5% of them would be not sterile- and that’s just according to what the company admitted in their own testimony- so you can probably bet it’s higher than that…

which kind of makes me just the tiniest bit afraid of what happens when inevitably that one fertile bad-girl gets out for a night of fun and ends up spawning with some non-GMO boy and lays a few thousand eggs off the coast of, oh, i don’t know…


apparently there are already people in the U.S. fish and wildlife service who are quite concerned about this, but luckily the FDA didn’t ask them to weigh in too heavily.

however, they did convene an advisory panel to help them sort through the tech-speak.

and luckily it included people like an ex-monsanto employee and a few known pro-GMO activists. so at least they chose people who know the field.

according to aquabounty, they don’t even want to have to label the new salmon, since it is just the same as other salmon, and labeling implies a difference, and since it isn’t different, why should they let you think it is?

silly you.

why should you feel entitled to information?

for the record, the preliminary information i found about this fish is pretty fishy.

one of the ways the FDA can help to make a decision about something’s safety is to look at the health of the animal involved. supposedly these fish have skeletal malformations and jaw erosion and enlarged gills and arthritis.

are you hungry yet?

if you rely on monsanto for your information- and c’mon now, who doesn’t?- then “There is no need for, or value in testing the safety of GM food in humans…”

so that makes me feel a lot better about this whole thing.

i rest easier knowing that my kids can benefit from increased yields of unhealthy food raised inhumanely in the future.

i will sleep better knowing that, if they want to get any number of chronic illnesses or diseases, the first step is just a few minute drive from their front door, regardless of where they live, and that companies like monsanto will fight tirelessly for my children’s rights to maintain that access, while never tiring in their battle against small farmers and truly healthy options.

it’s good to know that, while grass-fed and pasture-raised meat is being legislated against at every turn, there are companies fighting behind closed doors and greasing the right palms to genetically modify my food supply to ensure that my family will, without my ever knowing it (if the companies have their way) be consuming an ever-more-chaotic mix of genetic material thrown together in the witch’s brew from hell. and, if those same companies have their way, that food will be on the shelves and in our bellies before it can ever be properly studied or understood, much less labeled.

but, really, how arrogant would it be to think we could meddle with nature and truly understand the implications of that undertaking, anyway?

so, once again, i am back to a familiar place: the basics.

the closer something is to its source, the less chance there is for adulteration (although with modification of things at the genetic level, even that is getting tricky, i grant you…).

a carrot is usually still a carrot, and a fish is still a fish, at least for now.

know your farmer whenever possible (and if that farmer is you, so much the better!).

if you are the letter-write-y type, let your reps know how you feel about all of this genetic tomfoolerly.

because not only does this not make me hungry, this is downright making me sick.