FDA Hears All About Genetically Engineered Salmon

The FDA hearings for the Genetically Engineered Salmon have begun. The above clip is a heavily edited synopsis of Mondays proceedings and what follows is some slightly snarky commentary on the highlights. Dr. Ron Stotish starts out with the usual excuse for destroying our planet which is the projected doubling of our population by the year 2050.  The population boom necessitates finding new ways to provide protein for all those people especially in “developing markets” (interesting word choice) where a growing middle class “has a higher requirement for a better protein diet and in many instances the healthy kind of diet we Americans are used to.” Right. The problem with that argument is that the American diet as a whole is anything but healthy and I wouldn’t want other ‘developing markets’ to suffer the same battery of obese related diseases that many American’s of all ages are suffering. Not to mention that Dr. Ron Stotish looks like he gets more than his fair share of protein.

I appreciate Dr. Yonathan Zohar’s point that “if we do it right then they ( GE salmon) can produce the right health benefits.” Without a doubt. It’s the ‘do it right’ part that is difficult because by and large we haven’t ‘done it right’ with any other kind of flesh farming. He then goes on to talk about future potential for fish containing things like vaccines in them, so that once a fish is eaten the eater gets vaccinated. This sound familiar to anyone? Because I’m pretty sure that there is an extraordinarily successful video game/movie franchise built on the idea of just this kind of messing about.

In all fairness Dr. Zohar does go on to stress the big BUT which is biosecurity and making sure that the growing systems are fully contained and land based. Not to harp, well ok, to harp, but if we are going to use land to grow fish why are we not building more aquaponics facilities where fish and plants are grown without messing around with growth hormones on a genetic level?

Thank you Dr. Larissa Rudenko for stressing quite heavily that the FDA has not yet made a decision. Yea, we got it, you can stop looking and sounding worried that the Green contingent is going to start a riot in the press room. I wish.

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