Sneaking in under the radar
The FDA really did not want you and me to get wind of this one.
But they were dreaming. This is too huge.
Agency officials made the announcement on a Friday afternoon. That’s a classic move by government bureaucrats who want to attract as little media attention as possible.
But this wasn’t just any Friday afternoon. It was the Friday afternoon before Christmas.
I guess if they could have actually buried it on the grounds of FDA headquarters, they would have tried that too.
The news? Brace yourself for the first genetically engineered farm animal. Straight from the lab, to fish farm, to your dinner plate!
If the FDA takes us through this door, there’s no going back. Whatever the consequences, we’ll all own them together. Like it or not. And it looks like the agency is setting us up for a very unlikable disaster.
On the Friday before Christmas, the FDA released an environmental assessment of a genetically engineered salmon. A company called AquaBounty created this fish, which they’ve named AquAdvantage.
The FDA announcement notes that an approval of this Frankenfish will not have a significant impact on the U.S. environment.
That’s reassuring! Right? Well…no. The agency is actually pulling a fast one. That’s because AquaBounty will raise the fish in PANAMA. Which happens to be more than 1,000 miles south of the Florida Keys!
So, no, there won’t be a “significant” impact on the U.S. environment.
Very cute, FDA.
AquaBounty has designed their fish to grow five times faster than normal salmon. That means they’ll get to market in half the time.
But what about the fish that don’t make it to market? What happens if some of them find their way into the wild? And what happens if they make whoopee?
Scientists have tweaked the genes of AquAdvantage salmon to make them sterile. But AquaBounty admits that some of the fish will produce fertile eggs.
And nobody knows what might happen when these Frankenfish reproduce with normal salmon. But we do know there’s the potential for environmental chaos.
Purdue Scientists devised a computer model to anticipate the outcome if 60 GE salmon were released into a population of 60,000 normal salmon. Within just 40 fish generations, the normal fish population was gone. Completely extinct.
Canadian scientists took this experiment a step further. They created GE fast-growing salmon. When they released the fish in a tank with normal salmon, nothing much happened. But when researchers decreased food supply, the GE fish went wild. They began cannibalizing other fish — both GE and normal.
The population crashed. Again — complete extinction.
An environmental disaster like this could be devastating to salmon populations that are already endangered. That would be a catastrophic loss of one of our most valuable sources of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.
And coming back from such devastation would be impossible. As one Fish and Wildlife Service official noted, once fish escape, there is no closing that door. He called this plan a “bad precedent to set.”
And I would call that a glaring understatement.
The FDA hasn’t chiseled their action in stone. Not yet. We have one last chance to stop it. But only if we act right now.
You can make your voice heard by clicking here. Let the FDA know that we will not tolerate Frankenfish in our food supply.
“Frankenfish Could be Close to Approval!” Alliance for Natural Health, 1/8/13, anh-usa.org
“Act Now to Stop Genetically Engineered Fish from Receiving Approval” Dr. Joseph Mercola, 1/8/13, mercola.com
“Troubling Emails Reveal Federal Scientists Fear FDA Approval of Genetically Engineered Salmon” Food and Water Watch, 11/15/10, foodanwaterwatch.org
“Mediterraneans Abandon Their Famous Diet” Jeremy Cherfas, NPR, 7/14/12, npr.org