Scientists are afraid of a genetically modified new species that disrupts the natural ecology by crowding out and starving competing species. One that grows faster than a wild organism, becomes bigger and breeds indiscriminately spreading its aggressive characteristics.
Rather than promoting diversity which science shows is good for evolution, it significantly reduces variety. It increases ecological dependency on a single species creating greater risk if something were to happen to that newly dominant species. This is how we have population crashes of a species and the collapse of its ecology.
This risk, the viability of the fishing industry, and human health are major reasons over 59 retailers selling natural fish in over 4660 stores announced they will not sell the genetically modified AquAdvantage® Salmon even if approved by the Federal Drug Administration. These grocery chains include well-known companies such as Target, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, H-E-B, Giant Eagle, and Meijer.
These and other retailers are now also reacting to a new Canadian study recently released by the United Kingdom’s Royal Society. Reporting that AquAdvantage® Salmon easily breed with brown trout and they also show the salmon hybrid’s “competitive dominance” over other, natural, brown trout. This would indicate that both natural brown trout and Atlantic salmon are at risk of declining stocks due to this aggressive genetically modified hybrid.
While AquaBounty, the company responsible for the GM fish, indicates it will only raise sterile fish even the FDA admits that up to 5% of the fish will be fertile. When discussing future large-scale production, which AquaBounty hopes represents millions of fish, this 5% will be tens of thousands of fertile fish.
We have been following the AquAdvantage Salmon developments in various posts on this blog for months. The significance of this salmon is that if the FDA approves it for human consumption and sale, which appears likely, it will be the first genetically modified animal to itself be introduced into the food supply. All previous genetically modified foods have been largely plants that have been mainly modified to be impervious to various manufacturer’s herbicides or pesticides.
There is high certainty that if this fish is approved, many other genetically modified animals for which FDA approvals will be sought will follow it rapidly. Besides concerns there is no labeling requirement to identify these GM foods, the FDA unfortunately is in dire need of a significant updating and modernization. The FDA is today operating under animal drug requirements designed for the testing and regulation of feed additives and animal vaccines. Their required testing is not designed to study the long-term effects of human consumption or the ecological damage that genetically modified animals can cause.
The present reality of genetically modified foods, plant and animal, must be recognized. The long-term ramifications to our ecology and health must be studied before further GM organisms are taken out the lab and introduced into our food supply and environment. The risks are too big and far-reaching to not be studied. While not popular with businesses, environmental impact assessments in other situations protect the environment and human populations. A comparable study methodology must be imposed on these newly proposed GM products.
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