Without a doubt, the first annual National Non-GMO Month, organized by the Non-GMO Project, couldn't have come at a better time for America, with "Frankenfish," better known as genetically-modified (GM) salmon developed by AquaBounty, being considered for approval by the FDA.
For some of you, GM foods may not be an issue. If this new salmon looks, tastes and is nutritionally the same as the "real thing," does it really matter as long as the steady hand of science pays attention? Unfortunately, genetically-modified plants seem to be falling way too easily through the cracks, as we saw in a recent report about herbicide-resistant GM canola/rapeseed plants growing in the middle of "nowhere" North Dakota that may be the result of biotech seed accidently scattered in transit from a moving truck or during a harvest.
AquaBounty claims its technology prevents nearly all of its genetically engineered salmon -- less than 2 percent -- from reproducing. But what happens if a just few of those fish made by science escape into the wild, as did those canola/rapeseed plants? Some experts estimate GM salmon escaping into open waters -- not at all an unusual occurrence -- could eliminate some wild populations of salmon in as short a time as 40 generations.
You may be as concerned as I was about recent comments made by Dr. Craig Altier, a member of the FDA's Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee and an associate professor at Cornell University: To protect wild fish stocks, these facilities would require the utmost security, rigorous inspections and constant oversight by the FDA. We need to treat these fish as we would a potentially dangerous medicine or pharmaceutical, and apply all of the same security measures to its production and transport.
If you had to place a bet on science, government or big business doing the right thing, which one would you pick?
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