Would You Eat Genetically Engineered Fish?

A few years ago, I wrote an article on salmon … here’s what I had to say about genetically engineered salmon in 2008:

Genetically engineered salmon are not on our dinner plates—yet. But there is a U.S. company, AquaBounty Technologies, that is aggressively pursuing the development of this fast-growing fish by injecting growth hormone genes into fertilized eggs.  According to researchers at Purdue University and The National Academy of Sciences, “transgenic fish pose considerable risk when released, or escapes, into the wild.” The FDA is currently reviewing the process of developing GE salmon and there have been bills introduced to both the Senate and the House seeking approval permits to raise and sell the fish. At the same time, there are a number of petitions being circulated throughout the restaurant and commercial fishing industry to halt the introduction of GE salmon into the marketplace. Bottom line, individual beliefs and personal preference for taste will determine whether or not you choose to purchase these super-fish which are expected to hit retail cold cases sometime this year or next.

Of course the super-fish never hit our supermarkets because the FDA wouldn’t approve the injectable hormone used to stimulate growth. (GE salmon grow 11 times faster than wild salmon and their farm-raised Atlantic counterparts take 28-36 months to mature; GE salmon, 18-20 months.)

Late 2015, the FDA ruled, “that food from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe and nutritious as that from non-GE Atlantic salmon” and approved the sale of this salmon in the U.S. (Note, it does have to be labeled as so.) So the fish grew … and the grew … and they grew … and now, the salmon are ready to eat—that is, if you don’t mind eating a fish that’s been injected with growth hormones; just this week, AquaBounty sold five tons of the super-fish to a Canadian company.

Thoughts? I’m on the fence. My initial reaction is no way, no how, will I eat the fish. But I’ve been wrong before … this topic, as with many others concerning seafood, needs to be explored in depth by both consumer and advocacy groups alike. For more on this topic: Seafood Source

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Featured image from the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center.