“Frankenfish” coming to your table? by Dr. Jill

This past November, the FDA approved genetically modified salmon (GMO) to be produced by AquaBounty, a Mass. based company. It will sell under the name AquAdvantage Salmon. Should be available for sale within  2 years.

These GMO salmon will only be farm raised in land based tanks in two facilities in Canada and Panama so that there is no chance of them escaping into the main streams and mixing with non-GMO salmon. Why do we need GMO salmon? According to the company, the fish will grow twice as fast as normal salmon thereby reaching the market quicker and feeding more people faster. The Obama administration had stalled this approval for 5 years because of consumer concerns about genetically altered food.  So who knows why they finally approved it? Not clear in the article I read in “The Record” (November 2, 2015). And, by the way, they will not be labeled as GMO salmon! Great. So we, the consumer, have to be very good at reading a lot of info to determine which products are GMO and which are not.

How it works is the salmon will have an added growth hormone that works all the time (rather than only part of the year, as in non-GMO salmon). Apparently they are able to keep this growth hormone going by using a gene from a species of eel (ocean pout) that acts like an “on” switch.

Many stores like Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Target and Kroger have said they will not sell this GMO salmon.

Many consumer advocacy groups are fighting against this ruling and one has threatened to sue the FDA to block this approval. (Good luck with that).

We always hear  “you are what you eat!” No kidding. If we eat fish with added growth hormones that stay switched on all the time….will the future population keep getting taller and taller? Who is to say?

No one knows. And that is the truth. Do we keep believing all these modifications are totally harmless and safe? Will this company take the abundance of fast growing salmon and distribute the “excess” fish to feed the hungry in our country and other countries where people are starving? Doubt it.

My humble opinion…it’s all about making more money! Faster. Perhaps they SHOULD BE REQUIRED to donate some of their fish to feed the hungry? But then “the hungry” become the guinea pigs for this new market.

So folks, seems like we are looking at the wave of the future. We probably already have many fruits and vegetables that are genetically altered to make them grow faster, last longer, look more colorful etc. So why stop at fruits and vegetables? At least lets insist that all these GMO foods be labeled so we can make educated choices.

Only time will tell. And most of us probably won’t be around to see the end results. Lucky for us?



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