GE Salmon in Front of FDA

Today was the first day of hearings for a new ‘brand' (AquAdvantage) of genetically-modified salmon that grow twice as fast as normal salmon. The company, AquaBounty, is presenting in front of the FDA today (the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee) and tomorrow (the Food Advisory Committee) to argue its case and, so far, the FDA seems on board. In response to people's concern for food and environmental safety, the FDA responded with the resoundingly confident statement that “the fish shouldn't cause any allergies not found in conventional salmon and that there is little chance they could escape.” (from this article on AP by Mary Clare Jalonick)


First of all, what makes this fish genetically different from its natural cousins is that a growth hormone has been added to its gene structure, along with another gene that acts as a trigger to keep it active all year long. Given that this structure is unprecedented in nature, I'm curious to know what gives FDA officials the confidence to say that the added genes won't have any effect on humans. And much of the evidence supporting the argument that there is no biological difference is supplied by AquaBounty, the very company that stands to profit from an FDA Yes.

Second, it seems a bit naive to say that there is little chance they could escape–despite the company's assurances otherwise. True, most farmed fish aren't cultivated in Prince Edwards Island and then shipped to the Panamanian highlands for “grow out.” (one of the fail-safes, by the way, is the use of chlorine to kill any possible escapees … not exactly friendly on the environment) But we've heard assurances before. Escapees from fish farms are a well-documented hazard of open water aquaculture. In one Canadian study, juvenile escapees were found in 75% of the streams surrounding the fish farm.

Third, these closing statements by AquaBounty's CEO Ron Stotish just tick me off:

  • “Stotish says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon, and could be located closer to population centers to help feed more people.” Stotish is clearly ‘feeding' on the concern that global consumption of seafood is rising. That's true, and it's true that aquaculture will likely play a large part in feeding that demand (click here to read our piece on Farm Fresh Fish). But there are many other species that make more responsible choices for aquaculture; sorry, Mr. Stotish, we don't need your salmon to feed the world.
  • “The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.” Here's a better solution … experiment with other sustainably wild-caught species (like black cod), and explore a variety of seafood that's responsibly farm-raised (like barramundi, clams, mussels and arctic char).
  • “The company is also arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered. Stotish said, ‘The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist.‘” I don't know about you … but no matter what the FDA says, I don't want my family being test subjects to see if an unnatural, overactive growth hormone in a food will affect our bodies. And I certainly think it's my right to make that choice.

Here's my question for the FDA … why? Why are you so eager to say yes to a company who has everything to gain by that yes, and so hesitant to say no to protect the public you're charged to serve? Even if the risk is minimal, isn't that too much given that we the people have nothing to gain and everything to lose? After all, you received 29,000 responses to the draft, the vast majority of which were against genetic engineering of our food.

If this irks you as much as it (obviously) irks me, you can take action here on Food and Water Watch. If you'd like to make your voice heard here on NOURISH Evolution, join the conversation in Eco Bites here.

Share The Love!


Lorem ipsum dolor

Consectetur Adipiscing Elit, Sed Do Eiusmod Tempor Incididunt Ut Labore Et Dolore Magna Aliqua.

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

Hey there ... I'm Lia Huber

My mission is to inspire and equip you to live a richer life through real food by becoming a more competent, confident home cook.

I’m the author of Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith, and Enduring Love, founder and CEO of Nourish Evolution, and the creator of Cook the Seasons, Home Cooking School, and the Real Food Reset, and I empower intentional women to cook in a way that brings them (and their families) joy, health, and ease.

Making the shift from processed food to real food doesn’t happen overnight. It’s an evolution that occurs over time, with effort, intention, and belief. And it will change the course of your life. Are you ready to take the first step? I’m so glad you’re here … and I’m honored to be with you on the journey to becoming nourished!

How to Plan, Prep, and Cook Easy (Nourishing) Weeknight Meals

3 steps to making simple, nourishing meals possible night after night so you spend less, enjoy more, and have time and energy to live a richer, more delicious life!


Arugula Pesto

Arugula has a spicy bite, and makes a delicious pesto. Whether you’re getting wild rocket from the farmers’ market or a bag of pre-washed arugula from the grocery store, this pesto is a quick and tasty one to whip up on the fly.

Read More

Watermelon and Arugula Salad with Feta

We love how the peppery greens, briny olives, toasted nuts and creamy cheese contrast with the sweet melon. To make these even easier, as leftover grilled melon sits in the fridge, it releases delicious juice that provides the “dressing” to lightly coat the greens. This is great with our Grilled Garlic Bread.

Read More

Squash & Cheddar Tacos

Aside from being a simple, tasty lunch or dinner, these little tacos are pretty little things too. Also feel free to tuck any other leftovers in there you like.

Read More

Privacy Policy

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Proin vel ullamcorper nisl. Praesent tincidunt nibh sit amet sagittis porttitor. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Maecenas euismod ullamcorper libero, quis sollicitudin metus ullamcorper et. Curabitur elementum tincidunt fringilla. Vestibulum a ligula vitae dui rutrum consectetur non nec quam. Aliquam gravida ornare erat, sit amet lobortis massa sagittis pellentesque. Sed dapibus sed est nec blandit. Curabitur tellus felis, porttitor et odio nec, elementum aliquam sem. Nam ut dui enim. Nullam ac ornare odio. Nullam pulvinar purus porttitor dolor gravida lobortis.

Ut pulvinar pulvinar neque ut euismod. In tempor placerat risus, ut tempus eros congue vel. Ut venenatis ultricies magna, porta hendrerit dolor posuere ut. In sit amet tempor ante, eget lacinia ipsum. Nunc in condimentum ex. Sed sit amet urna ultrices, euismod urna vitae, sollicitudin orci. Quisque non justo convallis, scelerisque nulla sit amet, tincidunt augue.