Monday, September 20, 2010

Genetically Engineered Salmon

FDA advisors to vote on genetically engineered salmon

It grows faster, eats less and has sparked intense debate about modifying animals for our food supply.

By Andrew Zajac, Tribune Washington Bureau
7:28 PM PDT, September 18, 2010

In a step that may move genetically engineered meat and fish closer to the American dinner table, an FDA advisory committee will vote Monday on whether to approve preliminary findings that a modified salmon is as safe as an ordinary salmon.

The vote is not binding on the FDA, but approval would lend powerful support for a final decision by the agency charged with protecting the nation's food and drug supplies. The fish, a North Atlantic salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. would be the country's first genetically engineered food animal.

It grows to market size in half the time of other salmon and consumes 25 percent less feed in the process, according to the company, which is based in Waltham, Mass.

The FDA will hold a separate hearing on what, if any, labeling should be required if the fish is approved. The FDA says it does not have the power to mandate labeling that describes how a food was made, only the content variation that results from a different production process.    Read More

This will be an interesting test to watch.  But rather than a strictly scientific and rational discussion, I’m guessing that plenty of misinformation and irrational fear will be used by some.  There’s nothing wrong with being skeptical of new products and processes for growing our food.  The ultimate goal of everyone involved should be to have more and better food but unfortunately that doesn’t always seem to be the case.  I’ll keep you updated on how this turns out. 

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