Tag Archive | "AquaBounty Technologies"

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Genetically Modified Sexual Aptitude

Posted on 02 June 2013 by Jerry

Comparison between genetically modified and natural salmon.

Comparison between genetically modified and natural salmon.

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.

Use the following links to obtain further information:

http://www.foe.org/news/blog/2013-05-no-room-on-our-plates-for-genetically-engineered-sea

http://www.foodandwaterwatch.org/blogs/ge-salmon-the-promiscuous-fish-who-knew-not-the-fda/

http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/280/1763/20131047.full.pdf+html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/mar/20/major-us-supermarkets-boycott-gm-salmon

http://www.mlive.com/business/west-michigan/index.ssf/2013/05/meijer_joins_major_retailers_i.html   

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FDA Whispers Approval of Genetically Modified Salmon

Posted on 05 January 2013 by Jerry

It seems as if everything about the new genetically modified “AquAdvantage” salmon from AquaBounty Technologies is controversial.  Besides the inherent dangers to the world’s native salmon population if the GM fish were to get loose in the ocean (see photo of GM salmon next to much smaller natural salmon), the recent quiet issuance of the FDA’s environmental assessment declaring the fish safe to eat and environmentally harmless according to critics was released surreptitiously. 

The report was approved for issuance before the Presidential election on April 19, 2012 but was only released electronically by the FDA on December 21, 2012 after Obama was re-elected.  It showed up on the FDA website without press releases or any other public disclosure.  The timing and nature of the release were suspicious to many who believed there was a conscious, politically motivated effort to bury the report. 

AquaBounty assures environmentalists the fish will never get loose in the ocean where it is feared it would “crowd out” normal Pacific and Atlantic salmon leading to their extinction and replacement.  The company created the fish by removing a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon and engineering it into the genetic code of the Pacific Salmon causing the modified salmon to grow twice as fast and get much larger.  The company states it will “engineer” its eggs in Canada which ultimately will be shipped to Panama to mature into fish.  According to the company, the fish that are grown will all be female who are sterile because they contain three copies of their chromosomes rather than the normal two.

The FDA’s process calls for its report to be published in the Federal Register which paves the way for a public review period of between 30 and 90 days.  Unless there is a second review period, the FDA could issue formal approval sometime in 2013.  Across the U.S., all legislative efforts to require mandatory labeling of GM food have failed, most recently in California in 2012.  Because of this and the eminent approval of the genetically modified salmon by the FDA, shoppers will have no way to know they are consuming a GM food. This would be the first transgenic animal to have approval for human consumption in the U.S. or anywhere else in the world.

As it was with all the U.S. foodstuffs with GM ingredients that now crowd U.S. supermarket shelves, U.S. FDA approval will generate significant pressure internationally for countries to approve sale of GM salmon.  Present estimates are that roughly 80% of packaged foods that people buy at supermarkets in the U.S. contain some GM grains or oils.  The U.S. government’s and Canada’s active support of genetically modified foods has been well documented (see our June 13, 2012 posting “Genetic Engineering Influence Peddling and Profit”). Unless there is public outcry to all of our legislators and to the Executive Branch, GM salmon is soon to be a reality.

Use the following links for more information:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-11368657

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn23035-approval -for-genemodified-salmon-spawns-controversy/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2252808/what-possibly-wrong-gm-fish-set-supermarket-shelves-U-S-watchdog-rules-frankenfish-safe-environment.html

http://iamaguardian.com/741/genetic-engineering-influence-peddling-and-profit/

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