U.S. to decide – if we’re allowed to decide – to eat redesigned fish

Two fish the same age. Same-size portions on the dinner plate? No differences.

U.S. health officials are set to rule on whether a faster-growing, genetically engineered fish is safe to eat in a decision that could deliver the first altered animal food to consumers’ dinner plates.

The fish, made by Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc, is manipulated to grow twice as fast as traditional Atlantic salmon, something the company says could boost the nation’s fish sector and reduce pressure on the environment.

But consumer advocates and food safety experts are worried that splicing and dicing fish genes may have the opposite effect, leading to more industrial farming and potential escapes into the wild. Side effects from eating such fish are also unknown, with little data to show it is safe, they say…

There are no data which say, however, that eating these fish is unsafe at all. The rest is pundit-babble.

The small Massachusetts-based biotechnology company is seeking Food and Drug Administration approval to sell its salmon, called AquAdvantage, to fish farmers nationwide.

If given the green light, the salmon could be followed by the company’s engineered trout and tilapia…

“This is an Atlantic salmon in every measurable way,” said Aqua Bounty Chief Executive Ronald Stotish. “When you look at the fish, it’s impossible to see the difference.”

And that’s the kicker. As it is with GM beef or pork – or any other genetically-engineered animal protein that’s moved far enough along towards production to sit on a platter before the FDA.

My enviro brothers and sisters have one serious question to answer before this old political insurgent is convinced to back their fears. Prove to me you can come up with any test which can differentiate between the engineered protein and the stuff swimming past my kinfolk’s farm up on PEI. Let’s cook it and eat it, smell it and taste it, feed it to test animals for several years [again?] and show me where it’s different.

Then, I won’t think you’re wasting my time – and that of a public who could use a break on the cost of good food.

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