Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Unlabelled GMO Salmon?

According to an old Irish tradition, salmon is the king of fish. If they meant the tastiest or, apparently, the most nutritious of fish, those Irish bards were onto something. However, a corporation whose name isn't Hubris Inc., but should be, has been trying to improve on the salmon...tampering with its genomes to produce a "Frankenfish" that grows twice as fast as a natural salmon.

Salmon are big fish. The ones baked and split on restaurant buffet bars are chosen for being as long as the tray. The fish can grow bigger than that. Super-sized salmon could potentially not only out-compete, but gobble up, natural fish. And then what would humans eat if it turns out that super-sized salmon, like certain other GMO food products, make humans sick?

The essence of Trip Van Noppen's e-mail is below. The compromise GMO labelling legislation our Congress and President just approved will not require that Frankenfish be labelled differently from natural salmon. (In fact, if the fish are released into the ocean, and if they survive, it may become extremely difficult and expensive to tell them from natural salmon twice their age.)

Those of us who already know that we need GMO labelling, for health reasons, have learned the hard way that we can't depend even on our best elected officials to secure it for us. Corporations' employees also vote. (Sigh.) We have to leverage the Power of the Purse.

The lame and feeble compromise legislation we now have doesn't require corporations to admit that things they're selling as food may contain GMOs, in good plain English. It merely allows food distributors, especially the smaller distributors who are otherwise sometimes at a disadvantage, to brag loudly and clearly if they can prove that their products are GMO-free. And it drives activists to get active on the private level, sending our petitions to companies like ConAgra, General Mills, Frito-Lay, et al., to market food we can safely eat.

Tragically, this compromise may mean that we'll have to depend on "farmed" salmon, which, like factory-farm eggs, just aren't as good as the all-natural kind.

We knew the Food and Drug Administration would not require that new genetically engineered salmon be labeled to let consumers know what they’re buying, but now states are no longer allowed to label the fish!
Since I last wrote you about our legal challenge to government approval of GE salmon for human consumption, the House and Senate passed a bill prohibiting states from from labeling these fish. And on Friday, July 29, the bill was signed into law.
Additionally the FDA is still failing to analyze and prevent the risks these fish can cause to wild salmon and the environment.

Obligatory Amazon link? I've not read the book below; it's one for my Wish List.