'Frankenfish' Salmon Moves Closer to FDA Approval — Would You Eat It?

The federal agency says the fish are safe for people and the environment, but critics remain skeptical.

Genetically modified salmon could soon be making its way to your dinner plate, if the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) grants final approval to a proposal from a Massachusetts bio tech firm.

The fish, dubbed "Frankenfish" by its critics, is Atlantic salmon that has been modified with a growth hormone from Pacific chinook salmon and a gene from an eel-like fish known as ocean pout. The modifications result in a fish that matures twice as fast as regular Atlantic salmon.

The FDA has already determined the fish, created by AquaBounty Technologies, poses no health or environmental risk, according to various media reports. The proposal is now under a 60-day period of public review—the final hurdle to FDA approval.

The genetically modified fish tastes like regular salmon, meaning consumers probably will not be able to tell the difference — and ABC News reports the FDA is unlikely to require special labeling for the fish.

Meanwhile, Washington is one of several states with pending initiatives on required labeling for GMOs—genetically modified organisms. Initiative 522 would require any food sold in Washington state and made with genetically engineered crops to be labeled.

Would you be comfortable eating genetically modified salmon? Tell us in the comments section.

Nick Pilch January 18, 2013 at 06:31 AM
Right, thanks. I agree with the clarification. And the techniques are very different.
Oscar McGrumpy January 18, 2013 at 07:01 AM
What next? Introducing octopus DNA into chickens to produce birds with eight drumsticks? What a fowl idea.
Lisa Park January 19, 2013 at 02:57 PM
Tom, just because I will eat only naturally-evolved salmon doesn't mean I will eat or interact with everything naturally evolved.
Tom Brody January 19, 2013 at 06:06 PM
It is not readily possible for any human being to eat "naturally-evolved" lettuce, potatoes, wheat flour, corn, spinach, cabbage, or stringed beans. It is not the case that any grocery store in America sells "naturally evolved" lettuce, potatoes, wheat flour, corn, spinach, cabbage, or stringed beans. On the other hand, it is likely that naturally occurring versions of these plants still exist in the wild. A risk with any wild version of our domesticated crops is as follows. Wild plants often contain toxins, such as oxalic acid. Acute doses of oxalic acid cause reductions in serum calciium, with resultant seizures and death. Chronic consumption of oxalic acid in lower doses causes kidney stones, and sometimes renal failure and death. Therefore, I would never recommend that any person consume any naturally occurring vegetable.
Lisa Park January 21, 2013 at 02:10 AM
I do understand that our vegetables, fruits and grains have been cultivated from wild plants and in that sense are not "naturally-evolved," and I eat these products. I understand the distinction that Nick Pilch and Kenneth Wan are making between types of genetic engineering. And I understand that there are naturally-occurring toxins to be avoided. And I will not eat AquaBounty salmon.


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