Genetically modified food – take a stance against GM salmon

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In a short twelve days, the FDA will be approving the first genetically engineered animal. This new salmon gets twice as big on half the amount of food as the non-engineered fish. However, we can make a change, please sign the below petition and let the USDA and FDA know that genetically engineered animals, especially for consumption, is not what we want!

http://action.foodandwaterwatch.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4693

Through gene splicing, companies and corporations are finding innumerable ways to create new organisms, ones that sometimes “look” natural, and other times are complete breeding that “nature” would not be able to do on its own. In the case of the GE salmon, we have salmon whose DNA has been altered to grow quicker with less food required. These “farmed” atlantic salmon are then sent to your plate (assuming you eat fish, farmed fish at that), however, what is to prevent these farmed fish from entering the ecosystem? How do we know that these fish are safe to eat? How do we know that other animals that eat salmon won’t see harm from this, because how likely is it that these farmed salmon will never, ever make it into the eco system?

USDA on genetically engineered animals: http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/DevelopmentApprovalProcess/GeneticEngineering/GeneticallyEngineeredAnimals/default.htm

Unfortunately, the FDA’s oversight is not one that is without lobbying from the companies and corporations for which it regulates. Not only is the lobbying being done “in the open” but also without bias since many of the FDA’s leaders are former executives of and lobbyists for the companies the FDA is supposed to be regulating. Here is the FDA’s take as to their job regarding GMOs: http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Testimony/ucm115032.htm

While the FDA indicates that they believe GEs/GMOs are classified as “generally safe,” I’m not one to take that to mean “without any harm… EVER.” Are you? Here is their “balanced” idea as to what salmon is and GE: http://www.fda.gov/AdvisoryCommittees/CommitteesMeetingMaterials/VeterinaryMedicineAdvisoryCommittee/ucm222635.htm

So what are the issues surrounding genetically engineered food?

According to Safefood.org (http://www.safe-food.org/-issue/scientists.html) we do not know how GE food affects the eco-system long-term. Scientists do not agree with the long-term effects, much less the short-term effects.

This site links to more issues with GEs:

http://www.lib.cau.edu.cn/oldtsg/zjy/a012.pdf

In addition, there is some concern regarding food allergies and genetic engineering. Buchanan (2001), a member of the National Academy of Sciences, points to past errors in genetic engineering, “one wonders why the allergy issue was not raised earlier— for example, in the countless plant breeding programs since World War II—that significantly have not converted nonallergenic into allergenic foods” (p. 5). We have also have had issues with the use of GE to create MORE Of something found in nature, not generally found world-wide and then due to the overexposure, more people are found to be allergic. “The introduction of kiwi, a relatively obscure fruit, led to the development of a new allergy in the general population of the developed world” (Buchanan, p. 5). In his paper, Buchanan points to changes in how GE is used, rather than not using it, or, using more GE to create “hyperallergenic” foods. For me, I don’t believe the answer is more GE, of course. It is about creating links to finding food closer to the source, promoting more backyard, patio, and local food, but I digress… Also, if, for example, a peanut gene is introduced to a tomato gene, we have a tomato, which isn’t labeled otherwise under current requirements. However, what happens to someone allergic to peanuts? When do we find out if this causes an allergic reaction and how will that individual ever know that it was the tomato that set his allergies flaring?

Genetic engineering disrupts how nature creates and recreates life.

What are the issues with genetically engineered animals?

First, like all GE foods, COMPANIES supply the safety information to the FDA. It is not tested independently to indicate whether or not GE is okay for human consumption.

Second, these animals are no longer growing normally, and, perhaps like cows given hormones to produce more milk, there could be issues with the “unnatural-ness” of the growth. Of course, Monsanto wants us to continue to believe that cows being injected with recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBST/rGBH) are, like the label says there aren’t real differences between the milk produced by the cows not injected… but can we really believe that, considering the marketing dollars that Monsanto has spent to prevent dairies from advertising the fact that they choose not to use their hormones in their cows? Then, why, is rBST banned in Japan, Canada and the European Union? Why are we seeing an increase in cancer because of rGBH (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1567480/pdf/envhper00408-0012b.pdf) and that there are NO CLEAR BENEFITS TO CONSUMERS for use of rGBH/rBST. Again, I digress…

The issue at hand is that genetically modified means that we believe that nature’s ability to reproduce is seen as inadequate, and science is better at this.

What will happen to the natural fish? According to “A Purdue University study using a computer model, widely criticized by the biotechnology industry, showed that if 60 transgenic fish bred in a population of 60,000 wild fish, the wild fish would be extinct in 40 generations” (McClatchy DC, 2010).

Read more: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/07/11/97277/fda-nears-approval-of-genetically.html#ixzz0ysaxoxCZ

Here are links to finding NON-GE (non-GMO) foods:

http://truefoodnow.org/shoppers-guide/ (available for your i-phone!)

http://www.safe-food.org/-industry/certification.html

And some more information on GMOs/GEs:

http://www.thetruthaboutgmos.com/

http://www.purefood.org/GEFacts.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetically_modified_food Wiki link on GEs

http://www.niehs.nih.gov/health/topics/science/gene-env/index.cfm NIH’s links to Gene-Environment issues… While I’m sure politics are involved, even they see risks to various environment and our health…

See also: How did your senator vote (6/21/2012) on GMO labeling

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