Salmon has become the first genetically-modified (GM) fish/animal in the world to be a part of the human food supply. Recently, AquaBounty Technologies in Maynard, Massachusetts sold nearly five tons of genetically-modified salmon to undisclosed customers in Canada. These fish are said to grow twice as fast as conventionally-farmed Atlantic salmon. GM salmon can grow to full adult size in about 18 months.
In 2015, the firm was given the green light to create GM salmon by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human consumption. However, the FDA later issued a prohibition on the sale and import of GM fish until appropriate labeling guidelines are put in place.
The idea of GM fish has been met with creating opposition by environmentalists, commercial and recreational organizations, and consumers. In fact, a coalition of concerned groups sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for approving the engineered salmon created by AquaBounty Technologies. The company developed the genetically modified salmon by utilizing the DNA of Pacific king salmon, Arctic ocean eelpout, and Atlantic salmon.
Proponents of GM fish believe this new way of creating alternative food would curb starvation in a growing world that needs to find new innovations to feed the growing masses on the planet. GM fish and other animals will solve the problem by manufacturing super plants and animals that will grow faster, larger, and more efficiently to feed the hungry and food insecure.
However, opponents of GM fish see a different view that is dark and dangerous not only to the well-being of fish and animals but poses a detrimental threat to the health and safety of human beings.
Many experts are concerned about the negative impact of GM fish on other aquatic life. While GM salmon manufacturers, such as AquaBounty Technologies say their GM fish are only raised in landlocked tanks, some believe these fish may somehow make their way to the sea and become predators of natural fish in the ocean.
Furthermore, GM fish might escape into the wild and reproduce with other fish, which can make some species of natural fish extinct. The entrance of GM fish to marine life can disrupt ecosystems or spread disease.
French scientists conducted studies of the effects of GM food consumption on mice and learned some disturbing results. The French studies were discussed in a web article called, “The Dangers of GM Fish” by the Health Hippocrates Institute.
Since mice create offspring quickly, the studies reveal how GM food affected second and third generations of mice. The offspring born from parent mice that consumed GM products were not as healthy as those who did not. These mice were not as large or healthy, and in many instances they were sterile. The French scientists found that the kidney, liver, adrenal glands, spleen, and hematopoietic system (blood making organs) were affected in the mice. If GM foods or products do this to mice, what will they do to humans?
While these studies have shed limited light on the consequences of GM foods and products, there is still much study and research needed to understand the total effects of GM products and foods along with the havoc they may leave behind for consumers, fish, and animals too.