Everyone’s talking about the stamp of environmental approval the FDA gave genetically modified salmon. It’s actually been approved for human consumption for a while—in fact, besides consumer distaste, there aren’t many US barriers to genetically modified meat.
Criticisms include the fact that only 95% of the salmon are actually sterile—meaning one of the controls protecting the wild is fairly weak. Because the fish are genetically modified to grow bigger, faster, if they got mixed into the wild they could cause havoc with the food chain, competing with wild salmon and other fish for food.
In theory, the fish will be farmed separately, but if they become standard fare, the quantity in existence will make the odds of environmental contamination high.
More importantly, there’s hasn’t been extensive testing on what effect genetically modified foods might have on humans, and GMO labeling hasn’t happened yet (if it ever manages to pass in California, it will go nationwide). One study has found the new salmon has increased allergy causing potential. Whether that’s true, and whether GM foods have a negative effect on human health, has not been clearly researched.
Given general consumer opposition to GM foods, GMO labeling would dramatically change the landscape of your grocery store, where most pre-made products contain some form of corn, which is usually GM. Even if the genetic aspect of it isn’t harmful, most genetically modified crops contain a great deal more pesticides.
If you knew genetically modified salmon was mixed in with regular farmed salmon at the grocery store, would you change your shopping habits?