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Tag: gmo salmon

Just Say No to GMO Salmon

Great news to see grocery stores taking a stand against genetically modified salmon even when the FDA won’t. Beginning with Whole Foods Market decision to require GMO labeling on all products sold in their stores by 2018, now we see Trader Joes and other grocery chains announcing their boycott of GMO salmon, if and when it gets approved for widespread, unlabeled distribution to unsuspecting Americans.

GMO salmon vs wild salmon
A size comparison of an AquAdvantageAE Salmon (background) vs. a non-transgenic Atlantic salmon sibling (foreground) of the same age. (AquaBounty Technologies)

This franken-fish is engineered to grow twice as fast as a normal wild salmon.

Perhaps the biggest factor for me about GMOs in general is that while scientists have figured out how to splice genes from one kingdom onto genes from another kingdom and turn them “ON”, they don’t know how to turn them “OFF” afterward.

According to Jeffery Smith, director of the Institute for Responsible Technology, the bacteria in your gut can pick up these genes so that they may continue replicating inside your body.

Now if that’s not appetite-destroying, think about it a little more.

Biology tells us that kingdoms don’t –and shouldn’t– cross-mate. You never see a pig, for example, mating with a beetle and producing babies. Or a butterfly mating with corn to produce butterfly-corn offspring… Except in the labs where they are creating genetically modified foods for human consumption.

A month or so from now, with FDA approval, this transgenic salmon may begin making its way into our food supply. It will be served in banquet halls, in restaurant chains, and in school lunch programs. And here’s the kicker: you’ll never know because it will not be required to be labeled as such.

Let’s not overlook our pets. Mainstream brands of pet foods already include GMO products like corn and soy; now the fish will be GMO, too. Sorry Kitty.

It’s getting more and more difficult to opt-out of this massive experiment on the public health, even for the extremely vigilant.

The FDA is accepting public comments on the pending approval of AquAdvantageAE Salmon through April 26, 2013. Consider leaving a comment letting the government know your thoughts on the matter.

What Foods Have Been Genetically Modified (GMO)?

At the Seeds of Doubt conference outside of Boulder, CO, last weekend, I learned exactly which fruits and vegetables in our country could be grown from a genetically-modified seed and end up in your grocery cart and you would never know it.

Europe has banned GM foods for human and animal consumption for more than a decade while the American government has not acted to protect the public health from the corporate goals of the GMO industry. Even developing nations in dire need for food have recognized the risks of tinkering with our sustenance in this way. In 2002, Zambia rejected a donation of GM corn seeds even though they were on the brink of famine, saying science had not yet proven their safety. Still, GMOs have infiltrated the U.S.A. at many levels.

The GMO industry doesn’t even want us to know when we’re eating GM foods, because they fear we will reject them if we knew what we were eating, so they are fighting labeling initiatives at the state level. They have good reason to fear this as experiments have shown that even animals will reject GM feed when given the option. The more we learn about Genetically Modified foods and this experiment with the public health and its effects on our future generations and our lands, the more certain of that rejection we will become.

To start, we need to know which foods gracing our tables every day could be, if grown on non-organic farms, Genetically Modified produce. It’s a pretty short list, though most of these are ubiquitous in our cuisine:

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Canola (95% of the canola crop is “Roundup Ready”)
  • Cottonseed
  • Sugar Beets

Unless you see the word “organic” associated with these items, you can be pretty sure these days that these crops were grown from genetically modified seeds. These seeds have been genetically modified to be “Roundup Ready” (TM), or amenable to the glyphosate-based fertilizer that is used in Monsanto’s “RoundUp” (TM) fertilizer product.

Three other vegetables and fruits are Genetically Modified to be virus resistant:

  • Papaya from Hawaii (papaya from other places are not GMO)
  • Zucchini
  • Crookneck squash

In March of 2012 the FDA approved the unlabeled sale of genetically modified salmon in the U.S. The only way to ensure you are not purchasing these mutant salmon-like fish, you must choose salmon labeled “wild-caught”.

Another everyday Genetically Modified item that may surprise you: Aspartame, otherwise known as Equal, is a GM product. Yet one more reason not to drink diet sodas.

You can check if the items at your local grocery store are Genetically Modified with the ShopNoGMO chart and free mobile phone app. Also, you can support labeling initiatives, so that at the very least we can each choose to eat franken-foods or not. Knowledge is power.