‘Frankenfish’ coming to a supermarket near you as campaigners warn against GM salmon

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Genetically-modified salmon could soon be stocked by American supermarkets, as the Food and Drug Administration prepares to approve the fish for human consumption

'Frankenfish' coming to a supermarket near you as campaigners warn against GM salmon

American supermarkets are being pressured to refuse to stock genetically-modified salmon, which is poised to become the first GM animal ever approved for human consumption in the coming weeks.

A so-called “super salmon”, which has been under development in Massachusetts for 18 years, is expected to be cleared for sale soon by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The AquAdvantage salmon, which contains genes from an eel-like fish and from another breed of salmon, grows twice as fast as its natural alternative, allowing for increased and more robust supplies.

British firms are closely following its progress for indications on whether genetically-modified meat and fish can finally make it to the supermarket shelf – and whether consumers are prepared to eat it.

Last year the FDA concluded that the salmon, which has been labelled “Frankenfish” by campaigners, was “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon” and did not threaten the environment.

Faced with its likely approval, opponents such as Friends of the Earth have shifted their attention to America’s major retailers – demanding that they refuse to stock the controversial new seafood.

“The approval of genetically engineered salmon will set a precedent that could open the floodgates for other genetically engineered animals, including cows, chickens and pigs, to enter our food system,” the campaign group said, in a statement urging supermarkets to sign a pledge for GM-free seafood.

The opponents claim the fish poses a risk of cancer to consumers and could destroy other breeds. They also point to polling suggesting that some 90 per cent of Americans do not want GM fish to go on sale.

While the salmon’s manufacturer insists it is producing only sterile female fish, campaigners argue that as fish have been known to change sex under stress, there is a risk of contamination with wild salmon.

So far a dozen major retailers, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and Target, have promised to boycott the salmon, which is being bred by the GM firm AquaBounty in Canada.

A statement by Kroger, the parent company of six popular chains of US supermarkets, that it had “no intention” to sell genetically engineered salmon was dismissed as “weak” by the campaign group, which directed 27,000 supporters to write to the company’s management in protest.

Urging them to “create a tsunami of messages that will publicly pressure this industry leader”, Friends of the Earth have now called on supporters to tweet incessantly at Kroger’s brands or to make complaints via telephone call using a script provided by the group.

The campaign has been joined by the two US senators for Alaska, where old-fashioned salmon fishing remains a crucial industry.

“These so-called “Frankenfish” pose a real risk to ocean ecosystems,” said Senator Mark Begich. “Well-managed, wild salmon are one of our nation’s richest resources.”

An approval and successful launch of AquAdvantage could persuade food companies in Britain to lobby for the right to apply for their own licences to begin producing GM fish or meat.

A string of chief scientists to the government have endorsed in principle the prospect of using GM technology to increase food production, especially with shortages looming in the long-term. Meat from animals fed with GM crops is currently available in Britain.

However, mass production remains effectively banned due to reluctance by European Union regulators to give the go-ahead to GM food production. GM food is explicitly banned in Scotland and Wales.

Earlier this year, Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, called for the regulations to be loosened.

“This isn’t some new, spooky innovation brought in by strange profs with wuzzy hair and flapping coats,” he said. “This is an absolutely established part of agricultural production.”

Mr Paterson’s remarks were cautiously supported by David Cameron.

“I think it is time to look again at the whole issue for GM food,” the Prime Minister said in a speech in June. “We need to be open to arguments from science.”

Yet he declined to say whether he would allow his own children to eat GM food.

However there is little backing from the public for a change. A YouGov poll in June of more than 2,000 adults found that just 21 per cent of people said they supported the production of GM food, while 35 per cent said they opposed it.

Source: telegraph

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One Response

  1. doesntmatter says:

    oh really? the FDA hasn’t approved it yet for what reason?? they have no reason because they are not who they are SUPPOSED to be for the ppl, they are the complete opposite, so this would sound like something right up their alley if you ask me o_o. just like we all thought those nifty vaccines that our children were being pumped with from birth were actually doing some good inside those tiny bodies…we are just now finding out the truth.

    you wont know whats being done behind the scenes until they pull up the curtain and expose it…doesn’t mean the scene isn’t taking place.

    p.s.–if you think gm chicken isn’t already being sold, then you must think chicken grow on trees…americans alone eat more than 20 billion pounds of chicken a year (and that was a 4yr old statistic o_o).

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