Frankenfish Salmon Swims Closer to Your Plate

Categories: Food News

Image courtesy FastCompany
A genetically modified salmon, ominously dubbed the Frankenfish, recently took another step from the farm to your plate.

The Food and Drug Administration last week released an environmental report on the impact of the AquaAdvantage salmon, developed and patented (yes, patented) by Massachussets-based AquaBounty Technologies. The FDA concluded the salmon "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States," according to USA Today.

More than two years ago the FDA also said the fish, which grows at more than twice the rate of natural salmon, was safe to eat, but hasn't taken any further steps.

"Executives for the company behind the fish... speculated that the government was delaying action on their application due to push-back from groups who oppose genetically modified food animals," USA Today's story continued.

The FDA is taking comments from the public for the next two months before finalizing the report. Feel free to visit and let them know your thoughts.

AquaBounty's website says the fish, whose eggs will be sold to farmers, contains a gene from Chinook salmon that boosts its growth cycle. There's also an "on-switch" gene that induces the salmon to eat year round, according to The Olympian.

The company markets the fish as an "environmentally sustainable alternative to current farmed salmon." All eggs will hatch sterile, female fish that can survive in inland fisheries. With no chance to escape or reproduce the company says they pose no harm to wild salmon populations.

The ability to grow salmon in inland fisheries also means they can be raised closer to consumption markets, keeping costs down for you, the consumer. Since, however, companies aren't yet required by law to label genetically modified food you won't even know the difference. Just add some garlic and butter. Delicious.

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- the FDA relies on the information provided by the manufacturer of GM food for its evaluation and further the FDA divests itself of any responsibility to the health and safety issues related to GM foods in its standard approval letter, putting the onus on the manufacturer, and refers them to the EPA - see sample letter from the FDA's own site below:

- the manufacturer has no/very little binding legal obligation to comply with this responsibility and as its primary focus is to make money, its motivation to comply with these stipulations simply does not exist, or if it does will be carried out in the most cost effective (rather than objective) manner.

- this leaves the consumer, not to mention the environment at large, exposed to unknown risks

- It is highly irresponsible and pure greenwashing to state that it is an environmentally sustainable alternative without providing good sound proof


I would like to opt-out of this mad science experiment that has no long-term safety feeding studies, and could potentially wipe out our Native Salmon Populations - thank you!


“Unlike conventionally farmed salmon, the proposal the company put before the FDA doesn’t involve farming the fish in net pens in the ocean. Instead, fertilized eggs would be created in inland tanks in Canada (on Prince Edward Island) and the eggs would be transported to an inland facility in Panamato reach maturity in tanks. The farmed fish would be 100% female and almost all triploid — meaning they carry three copies of every chromosome in each cell instead of the normal two. That makes them sterile.”- LA Times

I am NOT feeding my kids a protein which is designed to be sterile. It's not worth the risk. I would ike them to have the joy of having children someday.


This article states, "All eggs will hatch sterile" but the FDA says on page 126, "ABT has not submitted any specific data to show whether or not AquAdvantage Salmon are indeed sterile." The FDA report states, "As the proposed action would only allow production and grow-out of AquAdvantage Salmon at facilities outside of the United States, the areas of the local surrounding environments that are most likely to be affected by the action lie largely within the sovereign authority of other countries (i.e., Canada and Panama). Because NEPA does not require an analysis of environmental effects in foreign sovereign countries, effects on the local environments of Canada and Panama have not been considered" so basically they are saying they don't care if the GE salmon are released in the wild in other countries and make their way into the U.S. The FDA report also suggested the GE salmon had a variety of deformities, had an earlier peak in mortality when exposed to Aeromonas salmonicida, etc. but they don't seem to care if these GE salmon may need more antibiotics which could increase antibiotic resistance, etc.

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