FDA Won't Require 'Genetically Modified' Label On Salmon

If you’re curious about whether the food you’re munching on is the product of gene-splicing scientists, don’t expect the Food and Drug Administration to allay those fears.

The Washington Post reports it won’t slap “genetically modified” labels on salmon that have been created with genes from different species of fish because the modified salmon are not materially different than the non-mutant fish.

The Post reports the issue came up because the FDA is in the process of approving a fast-growing X-salmon known as AquAdvantage that benefits from a gene of an eel-like fish and a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon.

Do you care whether or not your genetically altered meat is labeled as such?

FDA rules won’t require labeling of genetically modified salmon [The Washington Post via The Raw Story]
(Thanks, Michael!)

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  1. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    GM labelling, the thing that it’s not necessary at all to do because GM food is perfectly safe. At least, that is, until someone is trying to track an epidemic that affects the GM food and not the non-modified food. Then we’re SOL, but at least the feelings of the food industry weren’t hurt.

    • fs2k2isfun says:

      We think GM food is perfectly safe. Remember doctors once encourage smoking to “cleanse the lungs”.

      • Joewithay says:

        Well you smoke tobacco not salmon… oh wait never mind

      • cash_da_pibble says:

        exactly.
        And Arsenic was once used to treat syphillis.
        Now we’re appalled at the idea.

        Think of what we might be appalled of in 50 years.
        This GM fish may be one of those abominations.

        • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

          I’m not appalled by the idea of using arsenic to treat syphilis. In fact, I bet it’s a much less painful death than syphilis. At the very least, you’d think twice about putting yourself at risk for getting it.

    • OnePumpChump says:

      The food industry doesn’t have feelings, and that is not what they are worried about.

    • the Persistent Sound of Sensationalism says:

      As far as we know, GM food is safe for consumption. Whether it’s safe for the environment is another question. In the case of salmon, I’d want to know. Not all salmon taste the same and I find it hard to believe that a salmon modified with the genes of an eel and growth hormones from a Chinook would taste the same. I just want to know what I’m buying, period.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        I would actually eat GM food. I am for the idea of GM food. I think that the modifications are more likely to be beneficial than not. I think the chances that my personal health would be harmed by a genetic modification are smaller than the chances that I would be harmed by regular foodborne diseases and other food-based problems, and I think the same is true of each individual.

        In the aggregate, however, and in the environment (as you point out), things can happen in unexpected ways. GM food might cause problems only a thousandth of the time, but when you have millions of individual acts of consumption and billions of events of cross-pollination, thousandths turn into virtual certainties.

        • jessjj347 says:

          It only matters if you’re allergic to something that is spliced (?) into the salmon.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            No, actually it matters if anyone or anything has a reaction, positive or negative, to however the gene modification expresses itself in the salmon. The modification itself might, for example, be harmless to the vast majority of humans, might even decrease the chances of human allergy to the food, but as a side effect make the food more hospitable to dangerous microorganisms. Or a waste product of raising the GM food might cause environmental changes that in themselves are not harmful, but that lead to dangerous effects elsewhere.

            After all, remember factories forty years ago that freely discharged warm water? Warm water is certainly not harmful… I’m drinking it right now, infused with some Camellia sinensis and Citrus aurantium subsp. bergamia (that is to say, Earl Grey tea). But what it does to the ecosystem if you discharge thousands of gallons a day into a cold lake or river… that, at least, is well attested. Don’t take my word for it. Do the research.

            • bitslammer says:

              I wouldn’t take your word for it becasue you are wrong.

              Let’s say you are allergic to tropomyosin, which is a protein that is the most common culprit in allergies to shrimp. If I genetically modify a tomato with genes that cause tropomyosin to be present in the fruit of the tomato you could suffer the same alergic reaction as if you’d eaten shrimp.

              It’s that simple. I don’t mind GM technology, but people have a right to know if their food has been modified and what modifications are present.

              • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                I’m not wrong. That’s exactly what I said, in fact, in a post many, many posts below. What I was pointing out in the post above was that it can be harmful to you, to others, or to the environment even if the effect of a given modification is not directly harmful in a way that would normally be studied.

  2. OnePumpChump says:

    I don’t want a “genetically modified” label. I want a label with a summary of what the genetic modifications are supposed to do.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Right you are. After all, if it makes food better, why are they trying to hide it?

      • j_rose says:

        because people reject the idea without even understanding it?

        • DanRydell says:

          Bingo. Luddites.

          Obviously any genetic modifications are intended to provide some benefit, but many people assume there is also some detriment.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            I don’t advocate nonconsensual medical experimentation on the intellectually compromised, why do you?

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              Was that a little harsh? What else would you call tricking ignorant people into consuming things they don’t want to consume, on the sheer grounds that they don’t know what’s best for themselves, and the assumption that GM food is so much better than non-GM food that it’s worth the trickery?

              • jebarringer says:

                How about how people today generally have no idea what their food is to begin with? You think seedless fruit has always been a naturally occurring phenomena? How about corn that grows tall and thick and produces nice plump ears? Those are all examples of genetically modified food, through either selective breeding or genetic splicing. People already eat tons of GM food.

                • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                  You should properly differentiate between selective breeding through traditional crossing methods and direct interference with DNA using gene splicing techniques. Not everyone is confused by your conflating the two.

                • ill informed says:

                  what does “people know understanding what their food is” have to do with it? does that somehow make changing the genetics of these plants okay?

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I doubt there’s any danger or difference in taste, but it would be nice to know anyway. Common courtesy.

    • Difdi says:

      And what if someone who is dangerously allergic to that “eel-like fish” eats the modified salmon?

    • sonneillon says:

      Almost all Pin Boned salmon bought in the United States is genetically modified. If you bought a fillet it is almost assuredly GM.

      Pro Tip: Whole Foods and various other “organic markets” gets the same salmon as Safeway, Giant, Albertsons, and everybody else.

      • ecwis says:

        Whole Foods actually labels their food though. It’s easy to determine the origin of the fish and whether it is GMO.

        • sonneillon says:

          Labeling is useless to the average consumer. A Brazilian captain registered out of Panama fishes in the Atlantic international waters closest to the coast of 7 countries of Africa and Brazil after the catch the boat docks in Miami. Where is that fish from? According to the cool act Miami. If your getting salmon from a farm. Then the fish is from Canada or Chili. And those tags are frequently swapped and forged to get rid of product. Whole Foods doesn’t know where their product comes from. They just copy pasta what they are told.

          Now even though seafood that whole foods gets is the same as other stores and in some case the loin comes off of the same fish as another retail store. Whole Foods has been known to treat their product better, and that makes a huge difference.

  4. georgi55 says:

    This is not good – not because it’s unsafe, but now they can push GM salmon at current price of natural Salmon and pocket the extra profit!

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      Actually, if I were Mr. Evil-Businessman and my genetically engineered salmon was cheaper than natural salmon, I would price mine JUST below the going market rate. I’d still make money, but I’d put the hurtin’ on my competition…

    • sonneillon says:

      It’s already done. And there are only a few salmon farms. They all do GM in some fashion or another.

  5. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Just wanted to point out… if genetic modification makes food exceptionally tasty, safe, and easy to handle, then why do they want to not label it as such? After all, everyone should want superior, safer, GM food. Right? Right?

    • syzygy says:

      I don’t agree that GM food should not be labeled. This is a bad decision on the FDA’s part. Until we know for sure that there are no long-term health detriments, it’s only prudent to include a simple “GM Food” label, or just another line in the Nutrition Facts, to help those who wish to avoid such food to do so.

      However, the FDA is not saying the salmon is “exceptionally tasty, safe, and easy to handle”, just that it is materially the same as unmodified salmon. But if GM food will in fact be superior and safer (and most importantly, cheaper), then yeah, I want it. Who wouldn’t?

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Like you, I deplore the active interference of the FDA to prevent consumers from making a choice about something they feel is important. In a way, it is no different from attempting to legislate taste. I may see no reason for you to dislike carrots, for example, and I may even think you are silly for attempting to avoid them as though they were poison (absent any evidence that they harm you, of course). But I certainly would not support legislation designed to prevent food manufacturers from disclosing, on the ingredients panel, the presence of carrots in a given food. So there we are in agreement. :)

    • mike says:

      But we don’t live in Should-land. Ah, Should-land. Where clean-cut kids ride their bikes down Should-land Boulivard. And the Should-land football team gets their optimistic asses kicked by their crosstown rival, Reality Check Tech.

  6. Pinget says:

    Every poll I’ve seen says Americans don’t want GMO fish. So how do they fix that? They just won’t tell us. Nice.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Perhaps that just proves the advocates’ point that it would mislead an uninformed population.

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Every poll you’ve seen has been compiled from Americans who don’t know anything about “GM” products…and who aren’t cognizant of the fact that essentially everything they eat now has been genetically modified already.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Of course, this means the opinions of people like myself who do know quite a bit about it, and still want labeling and careful oversight, are crap, right?

        Examine your premises, sir!

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          It has been my observation that people who “know quite a lot” about something frequently…don’t.

          If geneticists and biologists starting publishing peer-reviewed studies demonstrating that there is a risk to eating a GM *whatever* then I’ll pay attention.

          Otherwise, it’s just the next generation of Jenny McCarthys.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            Bite your tongue in half. I am different from your vague “experience.” I actually think GM food is a tremendously good thing, properly handled. I am for GM technology. I am just not going to go off half-cocked and try to sneak it on people because I can’t be arsed to make sure I understand the possible consequences of my actions, like the food industry is trying to do.

            • YouDidWhatNow? says:

              No you’re not…and this quote from you below proves it, and also proves that you’re not “for” GM at all – because you can’t be “for” GM and believe:

              “Mister Advocate, don’t gloss over the difference between fully tested breeding through traditional means, and the who-knows-what-the-fuck, let-see-what-this-button-does methods of gene splicing.”

              • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                You are out of line. I am for responsible science and you are a blowhard who knows how to regurgitate talking points. It is not my fault that you don’t have the capability to understand a nuanced position. I don’t see the point in carrying this any further. After all, you can’t reason a man out of a position he didn’t reason himself into.

            • Ebriosa says:

              I totally agree. I love the idea of GM food. So much of food throughout history has been genetically modified in some way or the other and I think what scares people now is that’s it’s being done more quickly. But yes, vet the product, label it, and sell it and people’ll come around, I think. And one way to get people to come round will be to be honest and forthright about it.

              Also, the label “frankenfood” sounds tasty, not horrifying, but I could just be weird.

          • thedarkerside.to says:

            The problem from what I understand isn’t so much in eating GMO foods but rather that the idea of containing said GMO food within the growth operation is impossible, just ask Percy Schmeisser(sp?) who learned that the hard way when Monsanta fleeced him for all he had (and the Supreme Court of Canada agreed with them).

            There is also the question on how these GMOs will act in the wild. To say: “We’ve tested it and it’s safe” strikes me as rather…. ambitious there are so many variables out in the open world that you can’t really say that with certainty.

            Then there is the question what we need GMOs for in the first place, outside of allowing companies like Monsanto et. al. to acquire a library of patents that they can use to force people to buy their products.

            Yes, in theory GMOs have a lot of advantages and could solve hunger in a way we haven’t been able to, but do you really think the companies behind all this research are interested in giving it away for free? They are in it for the money and the loser in the end will be the Farmer who has to buy new seeds every year instead of re-using some from his crop and the consumer who has to pay for all the patents / licensing that is involved with GMO.

            Lastly, we all lose as we will lose species and varieties to the GMO line which could proof disastrous should there ever be a plague that targets the monolithic GMO strains.

            I am all for progress, but when it comes to something as basic as our food supply I rather err on the side of caution, evolution had a few billion years to sort itself out, we think we can do it in two decades?

          • ParingKnife ("That's a kniwfe.") says:

            So let me get this straight- it’s perfectly okay for you to refuse to take speedwell’s word for it that s/he knows what s/he’s talking about. But it’s not okay for random plebians to refuse to take the industry’s word that GMO food is safe and awesome and make you poop puppies?

            Why is that okay? Because you know so much about it? Perhaps, but why should I take your word for it? Your argument boils down to “I’m awesome and know more than everyone else, therefore GMO food doesn’t need labeling because I say it doesn’t.” If you expect anyone to think that means anything except that you’re an arrogant ass- you’ve got another thing coming.

      • kenj0418 says:

        “who don’t know anything about…”

        He said “Americans” — the rest is implied. I mean when people here think vaccines are trying to kill them, is it really a surprise that they’d be worried about GM foods?

      • jessjj347 says:

        IAWTC.

    • j_rose says:

      Right, the polls aren’t misleading at all. I complained to Whole Foods because they did a poll about GM foods. The options were from “I don’t care” to varying degrees of “NOOOOOES”. There wasn’t a single “I support GM food” option.

      They did the same thing with an organic poll once. Of course they got a lot of pro-organic responses. There was no anti-organic option.

  7. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    Everything you eat has been “GMed” – either by traditional selective breeding & seeding, or by modern laboratories.

    The anti-GM crowd is hardly half a step ahead of the anti-vax crowd. As is usual, the media is mostly to blame for the kerfuffle, as far as I can tell.

    Having said that, it’s high time the whole fish-farming industry went away anyhow. Not because of the GM fish being presented now, but because of the damage to the ecology they cause. Not only does the highly concentrated poop & dead stuff created by fish farms create massive kill zones all around them, but wild fish stocks are getting decimated as they are used to make the fish food for the farms!

    That’s right…farmed fish, which are supposed to “protect” wild stocks, are causing more downward pressure on wild stocks because the wild stocks are being caught to make food for the farmed fish! The whole damn industry is a sham – roughly equivalent to Japanese “whale research” in my book…and it needs to be disassembled.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      Link or it didn’t happen.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …for what, the problems with fish farming?

        http://www.edf.org/page.cfm?tagID=16150

        Randomly picked from Google. Fish farming is an enormous problem that I really wish we would just stop doing.

      • jessjj347 says:

        sometimes knowledge is a combination of many “links”

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          I see what you did there. Well done.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            It would be much better done if you could actually cite a combination of links to support your dubious contention that GM is in “everything we eat.”

            • jebarringer says:

              Dubious contention? Dude, you seriously don’t know much about GM, do you? Look at modern crops and farmed animals, then look at their natural / native forms. They all look exactly the same, right? Wait, you mean they don’t? Gee, I wonder why that is…

              • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

                Ever heard of a microscope, pinhead? They were only invented in the early 1600s.

                • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                  Ever hear of selective breeding? It’s only been around since, oh, the time that man figured out that he could grow his own food. Pinhead.

                  GTFO.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Mister Advocate, don’t gloss over the difference between fully tested breeding through traditional means, and the who-knows-what-the-fuck, let-see-what-this-button-does methods of gene splicing.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        …and this from someone who “knows quite a lot” about GM?

        Your statement demonstrates that you haven’t got the slightest clue. Good day.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          Oh, right. And are you a biologist yourself? Do you have your name on peer-reviewed studies? Have you written scientifically defensible articles on the subject? Do you know what my level of knowledge and study of the subject is? Do you seriously expect me to assume you know something, anything about the subject just because you claim my knowledge is faulty, without your citing any information that supports your own positive (and overwhelmingly unlikely) claims that GM is in “everything we eat already”?

          I think not. And a good day to you, sir.

          • syzygy says:

            You’ve implied as much, but to be fair…have you done any of those things? Because internet arguments work the same both ways. Just saying.

            • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

              Of course. Which of my statements do you have a scientific argument against? I’m listening.

              • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                …how about the very concept that you think GM works like this:

                “Mister Advocate, don’t gloss over the difference between fully tested breeding through traditional means, and the who-knows-what-the-fuck, let-see-what-this-button-does methods of gene splicing.”

                That right there demonstrates that you’re an abject idiot, who hasn’t got a clue about how GM research is carried out.

                And no, I personally am not a geneticist or biologist – which is why, as noted before, I leave it to them to conduct this research and then inform the rest of the world about it. That’s why people specialize in certain areas of science – and they leave the other areas they’re not expert in to those who are.

                You seem expert at nothing except demonstrating hopeless animosity towards science.

    • pawnblue says:

      Yeah you are right. Those anti-vaxers are crazy. No children died from intussusception due to an inadequately tested vaccine. No vaccines were pulled from the market. The vaccine wasn’t recommended to every child in America simply to guarantee profit while providing only a marginal benefit of stopping runny poos in a one year old’s diaper.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotavirus_vaccine#History
      Or was it?

      Seriously, when I was growing up we got vaccinated against real diseases, like polio. Kids just got the chicken pox or the runs every so often. Nowadays kids can’t sneeze without some huge pharma company producing a vaccine. And anyone who thinks this might be a scam is labeled a nut. But kids died.

      /I have no issue with Rotavirus vaccines being used in countries where diarrhea is a threat to health due to dehydration.

    • bitslammer says:

      Selective breeding is nothing at all like GM. In selective breeding you are taking advantage of the natural variability of the genestock in a certain species. Selective breeding takes a long time and many generations unless you’re workign with a fast reproducing species like fruit flies.

      In GM you are crossing genestock of species that would not share genes in nature. In nature 2 varieties of apples may cross polinate and that is natural. Putting bovine genes in tomatoes is somehting that would not occur in nature.

      Your point is invalid.

  8. womynist says:

    I, for one, am NOT comfortable eating Frankenfish. Especially if I don’t know that it is GM before consuming it.

    GM foods scare me…who knows what horrible diseases they’ll be linked to in the near future? I think labeling GM foods is a simple thing that allows us choice. Which means the FDA will never approve the labeling. They just want us to eat it and not question a thing.

    Creepy.

  9. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    This is exactly how they got me to STOP eating meat. I cannot verify what the hell it is i’m eating.

    NO thanks.

    • Billy says:

      There are plenty of genetically modified fruits and vegetables out there right now. In the US, no labeling is required for those either.

      You, most likely, eat those, too.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        No, I have a garden….sorry. I forgot to mention I’m in the Country, where it’s still legal to grow your own vegetables and fruit..

        • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

          But where do you get your seeds? And how is your garden pollenated? Farmers have been sued and shut down because their fields cross-pollenated with GM crops of the same species–even if you keep seeds from your harvests and plant those every year, they can still be the product of cross-pollenation with GM plants. They can still carry the “Designer Genes” which are patented by the distributor which created them.

          Seed distributing companies are designing plants which grow great one season, but grow shoddily the next season if you keep the seeds from that harvest… chances are if you are a seed keeper, your harvests may get successively worse if your garden cross-pollenates with a GM crop.

          Some people believe that there is no corn or soy remaining in the US that is not “tainted” by modified genes, even organic.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      RTFA, they do mentioned fruits and veggies have been GM-ed for years since they were allowed in the 1990s.

      Your goal of being GM free is a complete failure. Might as well drink genetically modified punch and salmon with the rest of us.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        I should point out that each and every instance of genetic modification of food is as different as different kinds of food themselves are. I don’t see anything wrong with people choosing to minimize their exposure as much as possible. In most cases the exercise is fruitless, as GM food probably eliminates more disease than it potentially causes, but it is still their choice. We don’t cheer on a waiter who lies to a vegetarian about whether vegetables are made with chicken broth. Why do we egg on people who try to force other people to eat things they don’t want to eat?

        • YouDidWhatNow? says:

          …because of dumbasses like you who think you can present yourself as “supporting GM” and then say catastrophically stupid things like “as GM food probably eliminates more disease than it potentially causes” – which is a set of words you crafted specifically to insinuate that there is some kind of reason to think that GM foods cause disease.

          When there is not the slightest proof thereof. Please take your charade elsewhere – your one and only purpose here is to spread lies and disinformation about GM, in *exactly* the same manner that Jenny McCarthy spreads lies and disinformation about vaccinations. You are exactly the same as her.

          • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

            I think I’ll let this stand as the sort of frothing-at-the-mouth Monsanto fanboy chatter that it is.

  10. BuyerOfGoods3 says:

    Label legalities are frivolous. If you care what you eat — Do your research before shoveling it down your throat!

    ~fatty.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      It’s a little hard to do your research when the FDA won’t allow access to the information (like allow you to discern whether you may be eating genetically modified fish or wild caught fish).

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        Shh, it’s a troll. Just leave him alone and he’ll go away. Remember, he’s just as scared of us as we aren’t of him.

      • BuyerOfGoods3 says:

        If you can’t determine it’s origin — don’t eat it. How hard is that?

        ~not a damn troll.

        • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

          I task you in determining the origin of your grocery cart items next time your shop. Including the components of the food (i.e. the bleached wheat flour in your package of hamburger helper).

          It’s not possible to know where it all comes from. Not without extensive research that no general consumer is prepared to do. Not even you.

  11. aloria says:

    I’m curious— could you potentially have an allergic reaction to a GM food if you were allergic to one of the things it had been spliced with but not the original, unspliced version of the food?

    • Brunette Bookworm says:

      That’s what I was wondering with this. What if you are allergic to a type of fish the genes are from but aren’t allergic to salmon? Would/could you get an allergic reaction from eating GM salmon? Of course, you could buy wild caught salmon but even then, what if it really isn’t?

      • Arcaeris says:

        In almost all cases, no. When people are allergic to “cats” it’s not the whole cat, it’s a specific protein the cat makes that is present in the fur, or dander, or saliva, or whatever. A cat without that protein is a hypoallergenic cat.

        When you splice in a gene, chances are very high that the gene is not an allergy-related one. They’re things like growth hormones or disease-resistance – things that are internal to the organism. These are typically not allergens. I know in corn and such they put in natural weevil and other anti-bug pesticides, but I haven’t heard of anyone being allergic to these.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        Actually, that’s exactly the point of one well-known sort of genetic modification. Corn does not normally produce substances toxic to some of its most common pests. Genes from the microorganism Bacillus thuringiensis, among others, were spliced into the corn genome to make the corn plant express pesticidal substances. These substances are not shown to be harmful to humans, but certainly the pests were harmed by the GM corn where they were not harmed by natural corn. This was of course done deliberately to cause harm to the pests, but it is illustrative of a pathway by which genes from something that is harmful to you could be inserted into something you commonly eat in such a way that the common food is no longer safe for you.

    • jessjj347 says:

      Yes you can. That’s the real danger of GM food..but a large percentage of people aren’t affected.

  12. Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ゜-゜ノ) says:

    I want labels so I know what foods to eat to gain superpowers.

  13. Nogard13 says:

    Guess I just won’t eat ANY salmon.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Good luck with that, if they decide to insert salmon genes into the beans that you grind for your morning coffee, and “forget” to tell you they did so.

  14. Mike says:

    As far as I know, the only problem with genetically modified anything is that it cuts down the natural genetic diversity of whatever species is being modified. So GM fish may be more susceptible to a certain virus, that virus hits the fish population, and there is far more death in that species than there would have been otherwise if there were more genetic diversity. I saw this happen to some farmers San Luis Putosi in Mexico who were planting GM corn in their village that relatives had brought back form the States.

    But it seems to me that the anti-GM crowd is the same crowd as the anti-vaccine crowd, and they simply say “ZOMG WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THIS FRANKENFOOD WILL DO!!!!11!”. As far as I read, the only thing that has popped up is that it appears some people are allergic to some types of GM food and not allergic to others.

  15. Hi_Hello says:

    if a salmon and an eel can get their freak on and produce a super salmon, I’ll buy it. Same thing with cross breading of plants. if they can take parts of plant and get them to breed, it’s all good.

    but when they need to gene splice stuff… helll no…

    • j_rose says:

      mmm breaded plants….

    • Sian says:

      how do you think they get seedless fruits?

      much of the time it was by physically splicing a part of plant A with plant B, or producing a genetic offshoot that is unable to reproduce by itself and is instead replicated through cuttings (like bananas).

  16. rdeebee says:

    I see the opposite happening: Anyone who is selling salmon that is NOT GM will advertise it as such

    • evilcharity says:

      Bingo! Prepare to see brightly colored stickers proclaiming that this particular salmon is NOT genetically modified.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        There have been many attempts to literally outlaw the practice of labelling pure items as “not adulterated” in some way or other. They did it with organic milk, where producers were forbidden in some places from labelling their product “this product does not contain rBST” (recombinant bovine somadotropin), the hormone commonly given to commercial dairy cows.

        • MaxH42 thinks RecordStoreToughGuy got a raw deal says:

          This. A thousand times this.

          I want us to be able to enjoy the results of the science of genetics and of responsible genetic modification, but the biotech industry (mostly Monsanto) has shown themselves to be no less than the enemy of freedom of information and truth. For that alone, I am suspicious of everything they do.

  17. Blackadar says:

    I think I’d rather eat GM fish than the steroid and drug filled “real” meat (and veggies!) we get today in the supermarket.

  18. Im Just Saying says:

    Ever eat a banana? GM’d to remove seeds and be resistant to fungus. GM’d wheat saved the entire country of India from starvation. GMing isn’t new and the practice predates the very definition of GM. It’s funny to me that there’s this backlash against things we already consume, but few bat an eye to popping a completely artificial pill for some quasi ailment.

    • TuxthePenguin says:

      You also forgot to include carrots. Carrots were made orange by the Dutch.

    • thedarkerside.to says:

      Comparing selective breeding with GM only tells me that you don’t quite understand what GM does.

      Yes, we have selectively bred new species for as long as we have farmed, but GM goes way beyond that with consequences we can’t yet foresee.

      • Im Just Saying says:

        In what way? What are the potential “unforseen consequences?” Sources, please. I’m not saying it’s perfectly safe because the government told me so, I’m saying it’s more likely to be safe than it is be evil incarnate.

        • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

          You’re right, it is more likely to be safe than “evil incarnate” (heh)… it’s probably more likely to be safe than comparable non-modified food. But when it isn’t… direct, crude interference in the genetic code tested and refined by the evolutionary process over millions of years is, do you think, more or less likely to have consequences more serious than a bout of food poisoning?

          That’s exactly right. Neither of us know for sure. But we have enough on our hands dealing with normal mutations of known disease-causing microorganisms from things like antibiotics. We are still feeling our way around in the genetic jungle. I am by no means saying that such research and experimentation shouldn’t continue, just that people should have some modicum of choice as to whether they want to be part of the experimental subject pool.

  19. rubicthecube says:

    I dont mind GM foods. All food, has been altered somehow. There was once a grass that through selectice breeding became taller, taller than you and I. The seeds for this became enlarged. We call this grass corn. The biggest cash crop of the United States (aside from ganja). People fear what they do not know. Altering foods has been done for thousands of years, the only difference is that now we have science on our side to give us immediate results. As long as the FDA says it’s ok, there’s nothing to worry about. ‘Sides, if you look at it, people who are against GM foods are never the ones who are in the trenches with agricultural scientists, it’s always some ignorant health nut telling me what to eat via scare tactics.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Selective breeding is not the same thing as direct genetic manipulation through gene splicing in the laboratory. Direct manipulation is more precise, but the changes are orders of magnitude broader, and the consequences are orders of magnitude less well understood.

  20. Damocles57 says:

    If the FDA won’t require labeling of GM fish (or other foods), will they forbid other producers from labeling their fish non-GM? Eventually, if all the non-GM food is identified, what is not labelled should be easy to spot.

    Until or unless the GM fish have an increased rate of cross-breeding with non-GM fish, then eventually everything will be GM.

    As an aside, what is the difference between cross-breeding or selective selection within a species for desirable traits vs. GM? Is there an issue with the rate of change of a varietal of plant or animal or the method? Couldn’t the same (or similar) results happen the “old-fashioned” way by cross-breeding, harvesting seeds, replanting, germinating, cross-breeding, harvesting, etc ….?

    I suspect most consumers in the USA have been exposed to a measurable percentage of GM foods during the past 10+ years. Not saying this is right or wrong, but probably true. Would I have made different food purchase decisions had I known? Maybe, maybe not. Would I be adverse to labeling? No.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Well said, for the most part. To answer your questions…

      Yes, it is not unknown that in some places laws have been passed to prevent producers from stating on their labels that their products have not been tampered with in one way or another (I mentioned dairy and rBST above).

      And many of the changes effected by gene splicing are “faster” versions of analogous procedures using selective breeding, hybridization, and taking advantage of a helpful mutation or two along the way. However, some changes effected by gene splicing could never take place anywhere but in the laboratory. The reason they work at all is because all life on Earth today arose from a common ancestor that lived many millions of years ago, and therefore all organisms share DNA that works basically the same way. You find, in the genetic code, that a gene that expresses (for example) as a leg usually has something to do with leg formation in other organisms, including organisms that only have vestigial legs or even lost actual legs many millions of years ago. The gene splicing techniques are not like taking radioactive elements out of a nuclear reactor and attempting to adapt them to powering your iPhone. It’s more like taking a gear out of a car and attempting to use it in a place in a lawnmower engine that has a vaguely similar function. It may work well and do the same thing. It may work imperfectly and do the same thing badly. It may do something else completely unexpected because no gear (or gene) expresses itself by itself, away from the full machine (or organism). In a worst-case scenario, it might irreparably damage itself and its user.

      The fact is, we understand machines very thoroughly and well. The machinery of our genetic code and the genetic code of other organisms, we understand a little. I choose to risk consuming GM foods because by and large I think I am not exposing myself to serious harm. But I cannot advocate forcing other people to involuntarily undergo the same risk, especially when they don’t understand the risk or the potential consequences.

  21. banndndc says:

    There’s still the FTC and ITC (it’s imported) though. I don’t understand how this new fish (which is part pout, part atlantic salmon and part chinook salmon) can be labeled “Atlantic Salmon”. If they won’t let catfish from vietnam to be labeled as plain old catfish then they shouldnt let frankensalmon be labeled as plain old salmon.

    After reading the process that occurs to produce these fish (including irradiation and purposeful mutation) I am quite a bit concerned. This thing has 3 chromosomes and both it’s parents were females. I will avoid it.

    Don’t care if it’s labeled frankensalmon or something else. All I care about is that it is not labeled “Atlantic Salmon” because that isnt what it is.

  22. dulcinea47 says:

    Hell yes I care.

  23. icewall says:

    Why this is bad…
    1. Harm to honest fishermen (as georgi55 has pointed out)
    2. Lower nutritional value – farmed salmon do not have the wild diet needed for Omega-3
    3. Long term unknowns – too new to know for absolute certain it’s safe long term

    I am not claiming it is unsafe to eat nor refusing to eat it. I object to the fact that lying to the customer is unfair to both consumers and legit fishermen.

  24. icewall says:

    Why this is bad…
    1. Harm to honest fishermen (as georgi55 has pointed out)
    2. Lower nutritional value – farmed salmon do not have the wild diet needed for Omega-3
    3. Long term unknowns – too new to know for absolute certain it’s safe long term

    I am not claiming it is unsafe to eat nor refusing to eat it. I object to the fact that lying to the customer is unfair to both consumers and legit fishermen.

  25. Kelly Bufkin says:

    I don’t care. I don’t eat salmon anyway. I wouldn’t mind some GM fruits. I want to try new things.

  26. icewall says:

    Why this is bad…
    1. Harm to honest fishermen (as georgi55 has pointed out)
    2. Lower nutritional value – farmed salmon do not have the wild diet needed for Omega-3
    3. Long term unknowns – too new to know for absolute certain it’s safe long term

    I am not claiming it is unsafe to eat nor refusing to eat it. I object to the fact that lying to the customer is unfair to both consumers and legit fishermen.

  27. farcedude2 says:

    And this is why I catch my own Salmon. No thanks.

    • pearlysweetcake says:

      Yup, thankfully those of us who catch their own are safe…until these GM fish make their way out of the farm and into the wild…ugh.

  28. sparc says:

    I don’t think the labeling matters This frankenfish is likely to kill the production of so-called “natural” salmon anyways.

    We’ll all be eating the GM stuff one way or another unless you’re willing to cough up some major dough for anything else. (or catch it yourself)

  29. thedarkerside.to says:

    I just “love” this.

    All these freemarket people who always talk about consumers voting with their wallets really don’t like the idea that the consumer actually knows what they may be consuming.

    The rational for not wanting labelling range from:

    “We don’t want to confuse the consumer”

    to a much more honest:

    “People don’t like GMO foods, so we would prefer if they don’t know what’s in there, and hey, the stuff has been tested and it’s safe, so there really is no reason for a label.”

  30. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Wait.. so they’re made from OTHER TYPES of fish but they aren’t DIFFERENT? Explain.

  31. tedyc03 says:

    Best reason ever to buy wild-caught.

    Wild-caught theoretically won’t be genetically modified.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Not, that is, until the GM fish escape into the wild, and if they are modified to live longer and grow larger, take over the niche formerly occupied by the wild fish.

      • DustingWhale says:

        THIS. A thousand times. Sure, I can’t stop scientists/business people from making GM fish. But damnit, I sure would like to be able to stop them from breeding/growing these fish in anything but fish tanks in the middle of the desert. I hope to take my proverbial kids salmon fishing, the way my grandpa took me fishing; in a small 20ft boat with an outboard, fishing poles, large net and a bucket of freshly scooped herring.

  32. ThunderRoad says:

    If it’s so safe, then there is no reason not to be labeled.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      Oh I totally agree, and all law-abiding citizens should be required to get “NOT A TERRORIST” tattooed on their foreheads.

  33. rusk says:

    All your corns are belong to GM

  34. icewall says:

    Sorry for the trips, things shouldn’t say that they didn’t post if they did, darnit :(

  35. EverCynicalTHX says:

    Sounds like big food lobbied the politicians to get the FDA to pass a policy that doesn’t require any notification of GM Fish.

    As a consumer I think that’s something I’d like to know, regardless of whether I am for or against GM foods.

    When it comes down to it I guess the FDA is good for little or nothing and in this case counterproductive to what I would guess would be the desires by a majority of people – correct identification of what they are putting into their bodies.

  36. Sean says:

    Why on earth are we even thinking of genetically modifying any organism that can propagate? The FDA is only going to examine the gm salmon within its mission purvue i.e. does not pose a threat to the well-being of consumers of such food.

    However, there are other dangers that are involved and no one is monitoring or testing for them. For example, what is the effect on the ecosystem of introducing such a change? Will it adversely affect not just wild salmon but also organisms that involve wild salmon? What will be the effect of breeding large numbers of clones i.e. greatly diminishing natural diversity?

    Finally, what about multi-generational delayed effects? (see thalidomide etc.)

    There is no need for gm salmon – it is purely for the pursuit of profit. So why even risk human life or life on the planet for no societal or individual gain? Even if one person in a million is harmed, there is no justification for undertaking any risk when the natural solution holds none.

    Particularly worrying is splicing another species’ genes into the salmon. Genes are not simple bits of binary code, even a small change can trigger untold cascading effects that are not apparent until many generations later.

    Let’s put a hold to use of ANY GM organisms except for producing treatment for conditions of sufficient gravity for which there is no current alternative. And then keep those organisms under level 6 biological containment.

  37. evnmorlo says:

    What-could-possibly-go-wrong aside, I’d be worried whether the salmon is nutritionally worse. Grows faster=is fatter and absorbs more PCBs?

  38. ill informed says:

    but let me guess, stem cell research and abortions are bad, right? it’s okay to play with the genes of plants and animals, but not humans

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble figuring out exactly what position you’re attempting to oppose here. Are you thinking of a specific person who is in favor of gene splicing technology when implemented with respect to plants and animals, but not when applied to human beings? My understanding was that the Christian religious fanatics were mostly opposed to any such tampering at all, if for no better reason than it requires at least a high-school-level understanding of evolutionary theory to be able to grasp the reason why gene splicing technology works in the first place.

      • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

        For example, that is. I don’t know offhand of another group seriously opposed to stem cell research and abortion.

  39. RedCricketChase says:

    Gene-splicing scientists!! Consumerist should really make a panicky Reefer Madness-style movie at some point about their pet issues.

  40. VashTS says:

    Lets apply this to other similar issues and the out come is;

    HIgher prices for non GM salmon.

    Reason why it got approved is most of the FDA decision makers are former CEO and other high ranking execs who used to work in the food industry for major companies like Conagra and Tyson. THat’s the reason why other modified products hit the market prior without labels.

    PS
    America does not care about the citizens needs just the top 1%.

    • banndndc says:

      honestly as much as im concerned with the way staffing and appointments have become that’s not the problem. the problem is that the FDA was concerned with a single question: whether or not the product will cause immediate harm in humans if consumed. the main problem is that this is the first gmo animal proposed for sale as food and all our procedures/regulations for dealing with these sorts of things are from before the advent of gm animals used for food.

      http://www.fda.gov/Food/LabelingNutrition/FoodLabelingGuidanceRegulatoryInformation/Topic-SpecificLabelingInformation/ucm222608.htm
      the FDA factsheet does a good job of explaining how hamstrung they are.

      the real messed up thing is that it has to be labeled as a gmo for every sale besides end-users. the eggs, young fish and fish sold to growers (ie: every part of the chain besides supermarkets) have to be labeled. that’s the real problem – the only people not told that it’s a gmo are us.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        “the problem is that the FDA was concerned with a single question: whether or not the product will cause immediate harm in humans if consumed.”

        Asking that of people that care about REAL natural food and asking current top brass of FDA will get you two different answers. If the top people of FDA were to become REAL people that are REAL watchdogs for society than the outcome would likely have been different. FDA serves no MAN that isn’t supported by Wall Street.

    • GuidedByLemons says:

      Citizens don’t need to have GM foods labeled, because there is absolutely no basis to suspect there is anything wrong with GM foods. I’m sorry you’re scared of science for no good reason.

  41. FLConsumer says:

    Sounds like it’s time for a little rogue consumer labeling of foods.

  42. GuidedByLemons says:

    Oh no, we’re not bowing to luddites by instituting totally unnecessary labeling requirements! The sky is falling!

  43. FrugalFreak says:

    Just quit buying the salmon! speak with your wallet. start catching your own fish and growing own veggies. tAKE the food source power back out of the mass corps.

    • Sian says:

      simply put, our large population centers would be impossible without mass market production of food. So unless you offer a solution to get the population density back down to pre-industrial levels, this kind of food production is here to stay.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        Reduce the population. people popping out babies should have some lawful limits.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        “large population centers” metro cities bear no right to exist. Maybe not so many people thrown on top of one another and ya’ll could survive. Why live where you could not provide for yourself but have to depend on others to do so? In the apocalypse ya’ll are screwed. Make changes now.

  44. yulingo says:

    We’re probably not going to really need labels, because, if I can believe what the reports say, the GM salmon will be HUGE.

    Besides, if you regularly frequent some place to buy fish, you should be friendly enough with your fishmonger that they’ll tell you… and if your fishmonger doesn’t know where the fish s/he sells comes from… you need a new fishmoger

  45. suburbancowboy says:

    In other countries, they would be rioting in the streets if their government allowed this. But we Americans are just going to sit on our fat lazy asses and let it slide, because that is what we always do. And I’m just as guilty as everyone else for not doing anything about it.

    Not only do I think GMO should not be allowed, because we have no control over it, and can never take it back once it is out there, I think there need to be a lot more rules about food labeling.

    Al Natural, and Organic should mean the exact same thing. If a crop has been sprayed with pesticides, every one of those pesticides should be listed on the package. A tomato is not just a “tomato” if it has been sprayed. It is a tomato with all of those pesticides in it. We have a right to know.

    Politicians say they want to give customers freedom to choose. We need freedom of information, and full disclosure if we are going to be able to properly exercise our freedom of choice.

  46. OIFVet says:

    Nope dont really care whether or not its genetically altered as long as it is safe for consumption. Being in the military and survival school i have eaten much worse.

  47. Kahn Soomer says:

    If I start growing an extra arm from the back of my neck I’ll know the fish was genetically altered? Thanks, FDA.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      If you can actually grow an arm out of the back of your neck through eating food, I know a prominent evolutionary biologist who would sell his own right arm to figure out how you managed it. :)

  48. Abradax says:

    Can we modify beef to be as healthy for you as chicken and fish? I miss beef but on my eating plan I can’t have much of it.

  49. dush says:

    So just don’t eat any AquAdvantage.
    If your meat salesman can’t tell you then don’t buy there.

  50. Razor512 says:

    genetically modified food is safe to eat, the problem is that some people pushing for organic food have launched a advertising campaign to make genetically modified food seem bad.

    We have been genetically modifying food for hundreds of years. There is no unmodified food. Long ago when farmers had plants and 1 sets of plants seemed to be better than the others, the farmers would breed them to make better plants.

    Today, we don’t have to kill a field of food to achieve this. Scientist can just figure out what makes this set eg, corn so resilient to the cold, or why did this corn plant last longer without water than this other plant. Then simply make the needed changes and get the desired changes in a single generation instead of spending years breeding the plants in hopes of finally, and consistently preventing the detrimental recessive traits.

    Many people feel that scientist are putting animal DNA and other crap into genetically modified food and it just isn’t true. Science doesn’t understand even 1% of how DNA works. All scientist are doing to genetically modifying food is finding what they consider to be MORE perfect samples of a plant (kinda like dog shows where each dog is judged against the breed). Scientist then find out what makes this plant better, then applies these enhancements to the other plants.

    It can even be done to humans if science wanted to, eg, what makes this person taller than the other person, well take some cell samples and find the “tall” set of genes, then genetically modify this sperm or egg and produce a tall human, or why are some people almost fully grown at a young age.

    Today, genetically modified plants grow faster and grow larger because science was able to get a hold of a single plant that had these traits. We don’t understand DNA enough to create changes from scratch as we would a computer program. We simple find a plant that has desired traits, then we compare it to a more normal plant and see whats different in the dns, then through trial and error we try different sections of DNS until we make the test plant have the desired traits, in the case of genetically modified plants. We want then to grow faster and larger.

    There is nothing wrong with genetically modified food.

    • speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

      Nice work. What GM advocacy website did you paste it from?

      • Razor512 says:

        I didn’t, that is from what I learned on the topic. We genetically modify food because with out it, we cant produce enough to meet the demand. Would you want the plants on your farm to be fully grown within 1-2 months or would you rather have “organic” food that will take 4-5 months to fully grow?

        Almost all modifications are done to increase the growth rate and work is still being done to further modify the food we eat to make it grow even faster.

        Over the years we lose more and more farm land in favor of build homes and cities and factories.

        Also as a business, you would rather have a farm that is half the size and produces twice as much food rather than a farm that is twice as large but only produces 1x the normal amount.

        Genetically modified food is profitable and is vital because current farmland because if all farmland only did “organic” food, it would not produce enough food to support the population.

  51. Miz_Ivy says:

    I’m not opposed in principle to genetically modified food, as we have been modifying our food supply for centuries, mostly via crossbreeding. And I agree that most people are ignorant to the extent their “natural” everyday foods are no such thing.

    However, consumers should be allowed to make their own choices. Whether their reason is that they have safety concerns or that they generally think Frankenfish are icky, they should have the choice to not each such fish if they choose not to. Not labeling the fish prevents them for making that choice.

    Not to mention, though the FDA has said the fish are safe, how can they really know that? If there are any long-term health effects from eating GM animals, these won’t be known for years. Shouldn’t the consumer be allowed to decide whether they want to take such a risk?

    I’m not saying that I personally wouldn’t eat GM fish or that I expect one day we’ll discover they cause some horrible health issue or the like. Just that what I put in my body is my choice, and I can’t make an informed choice if infomation is being witheld. And the argument that food manufacturers don’t want GM labels becuase they’re afraid people won’t buy the food is pretty weak…why not just give people what they want, instead of decieving them into buying what they don’t want?