Genetically Modified Food


Last week, I read an article “Would You Eat Genetically Altered Meat? ” by Allie Townsend via Time NewsFeed. In this article, the author discussed that a genetically modified salmon, AquAdvantage Salmon, was going to approved as a safe food product by the Food and Drug Administration, which would be the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption. This kind of salmon is based on an Atlantic salmon with a gene from the ocean pout that prevents freezing and a growth gene from the Chinook salmon. In fact, The New York Times has reported this news as “Genetically Altered Salmon Get Closer to the Table” on June 25th this year. Ms. Allie wrote the article for Time NewsFeed after reading the report “FDA Considers Approving Genetically Modified Salmon for Human Consumption” on Washington Post. Maybe because the approval is approaching, the report on Washington Post arouse much more attention recently. Also, the continuous arguments on genetically modified food (GMF) have been prompted again. The scientists who developed the salmon are trying to prove the fish is safe by eating them for years. From now on, not only the scientists working for AquaBounty, the Massachusetts-based biological company, also the FDA claim the salmon is safe. As described in Emily Sohn’s “Is Genetically Modified Salmon Safe?” on DiscoveryNews, several major scientific panels have found no sign that the salmon would harm human health in any way. While independent scientists, consumer groups and environmental organizations are concerning about both the pending decision and the process that the FDA uses to determine whether this kind of salmon is safe for human health and the environment. Rick Moonen expressed his opposite opinions on the bio-engineered salmon via “Say No to Genetically Engineered Salmon” on CNN.

In this regard, I have mixed feelings. Obviously GMF has several advantages, such as possible higher yield, quicker growth, more resistance to virus, more economical, bigger business, etc. But the potential risks to human health and the environment are concerned by myself. A couple of days ago, I discussed this issue with several friends, one of which is biologist. She is now working for a company, which is developing the virus-resistant crop by genetically engineering method. She told me that there is big difference on the GMF policy between US and EU. EU requires that the developer need to prove the GMF is completely safe, while US requires that the consumers need to prove the dangerous if a certain of GMF to be banned. Unfortunately, GMF is on the phase between the above two.

In Ms. Allie’s article, she mentioned that no word on if food suppliers, grocery stores or restaurants will be required to label genetically altered animals before they’re sold to customers. While Jenifer Goodwin, the author of “New On the Menu: Genetically Modified Salmon“, said that FDA would considered the issue that whether the genetically modified salmon is required a specific label on the package if on market during the public hearings. I am not sure which one is true, but I believe it is a good way to label the GMF, which could protect consumers’ rights to choose GMF or natural food. In addition, strict supervision is a must because the characteristics, physiology, and behavior, also the tastes of the salmon is no different from normal Atlantic salmon as Ronald L. Stotish, the company’s president and chief executive, told the Washington Post.

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