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Victoria Station

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September 22nd, 2010
07:30 PM ET

This week’s Food and Drug Administration hearings on the introduction ofgenetically modified salmon into the consumer food system, and issues aroundlabeling the fish as such has given rise to heated debates both in Washington and in the comments section of Eatocracy.

We were once again struck by the passion and intelligence of our readers, and are sharing some highlights from both sides of the conversation – as well as some who are just in search of sensible answers, minus any hype.

Ignorance is not so blissful

I’ve done my research on genetics and modification and have determined that GE foods are neither safe nor unsafe. We simply don’t know for sure how safe GE foods are. I do however have a problem with biotech companies shoving these GE foods down our throats. And don’t tell me we have a choice, because they’ve fought labeling laws and we have no idea whether what we’re eating is GE or not unless you buy 100% organic. All of us in the U.S. have eaten GE foods without knowing it.

In my experience, the people who are in favor of GE are the blissfully ignorant people. They just figure “science must be right, right?” – Tim

You’re too quick to panic

We eat all sorts of foods that have widely varying DNA codes, from wheat to rice to cattle to chickens, and yet having all those varying DNA sources in our digestive system have done absolutely no harm. We even eat different hybrids of the same food which we humans modified via natural selection. No ill effects from that either. Why you ask? Because their DNA does not alter our DNA. We will not get a third eye from eating something with modified DNA any more than you can get a third eye from eating white corn on the cob or movie theater popcorn, both of which were also created by human modification. – Michael

Knowledge is a powerful animal

I work with transgenic animals. They pose no threat as the recombinant DNA has been incorporated into the genome of the animal. I would not recommend that anyone inject themselves with recombinant DNA but eating a GMO is hardly a danger. If you want citations on how transgenics are created check out pubmed.gov. Here you will find a vast amount of literature on the subject. Also, “The Cell” by Alberts et al. has a great little section on GMO and transgenic mice that anyone can understand. Good luck learning. Science is fun! – Nicole

The big question – WHY?

In reading the company’s website and all of the comments I cannot seem to find the reason as to WHY we need genetically modified salmon? Aside from the monetary benefit, I am curious… is there a shortage of salmon? Has the demand for salmon exceeded the natural production and harvest time? I would simply like to know the reasoning. The company’s website states the following:

“AquaBounty is developing advanced-hybrid salmon, trout, and tilapia designed to grow faster than traditional fish. AquAdvantage® Salmon (AAS) reach market size twice as fast as traditional salmon. This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit to farmers (reduced growing cycle) as well as enhancing the economic viability of inland operations, thereby diminishing the need for ocean pens.”

Monetary gain. “This advancement provides a compelling economic benefit…” Also, what is the HEALTH benefit (if any) to consuming this type of fish?

Can I get an HONEST answer please. – AM5

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