Tag Archive: Salmon

Apr 12

Franken-Salmon

I really didn’t want to write today.  I know that I made my big shpiel about it yesterday, and the first day out of the gate, I had a terrible awful no good very bad day at work that came after weeks of stressful days.  And since I haven’t found my blackmailer yet, I was going to just throw in the towel for today and try again tomorrow, but Dale asked me if I had done my writing for today.  And I still have two hours, so I really should get it done.

Apparently, the public comment period for a genetically modified version of salmon has been extended by the FDA until the end of April. This salmon, as I have come to understand it, has the benefit of having its growth hormone system turned permanently on:  the fish is always growing, like the blob or that game where you roll around and pick up everything.  This company AquaBounty has been super patient, having first applied for approval in 1993.  That’s 20 years.  It’s almost as old as me, dear reader.  And a few years ago, I would have said full speed ahead.  Genetically modified crops allow us to feed more people on less seed while getting rid of pests and a variety of other factors that make agriculture harder than it has to be.

Copyright Wikimedia Commons

But these days, I’m becoming increasingly concerned with the fact that I don’t know what the things I eat do to my body.  I’ve become increasingly concerned about preservatives and overly-processed foods.  I’m trying to consume less salt.  I’m trying to consume less pre-prepared.  I cook more from scratch, I try to only buy local meat, and I’ve even planted a container garden so that I can start to learn the fundamentals about growing some of my own food.  I don’t understand agriculture, though.  Now that I realize how little I know about where my sustenance comes from, I worry that the food industry and mega-corps like Monsanto don’t have my best interests at heart when it gets in the way of shareholder dividends.

The fact is, I don’t even eat salmon.  And I think that both sides of this argument about genetically modified animals can be correct.  Yes, I think that the salmon is probably going to prove to be ultimately “safe.”  But, I think we are only going to mean safe in the way that it is not actively harmful.  I think that it will also prove to not be the best choice for people who are attempting to have salmon as part of their diets.  It’ll just be one more processed option that can feed the masses at the expense of optimal nutrition.  And if there’s a market for that sort of thing, then of course it will happen.  And it will make it that much harder for people who don’t want GM in their food to avoid it.

I don’t know where the middle road is.  The world is growing, it needs more food, and GM is how we know to do that.  But I think it’s worth a little worry that every time we make an advancement in “improving” food, we step away from food that we know and understand.  It’s a double-edged sword, and one we all should be more aware of.

Read more here:
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/10/opinion/sunday/dont-be-afraid-of-genetic-modification.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/20/business/grocery-chains-pledge-not-to-sell-modified-salmon.html
http://www.aquabounty.com/

What are your thoughts?  Let me know in the comments.

‘Til next time,

-JMF