Greens Powder

Don’t Let This “FrankenFish” into Your Kitchen!

“Mommy what’s for dinner?”

“Genetically engineered salmon my love!”

“What’s genetically engineered?”

“Well scientist made this brand new fish by taking a perfectly healthy wild Atlantic salmon. Then they added a few genes from a Pacific Chinook salmon, and a few growth hormones from an eel like fish called the Pout, and they made the “Frankenfish”! Doesn’t that sound delicious?”

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I don’t know about you, but I never want to be putting a genetically engineered fish on my dinner table. And yet, in just a few short months, I might be doing just that without even knowing that I am. Outrageous ins’t it?

And yet it’s true. This genetically engineered salmon, the AquaAdvantage salmon, is the proud new baby of AquaBounty Technologies (ABT), a biotechnology company headquartered near Boston. What makes this salmon particularly interesting to it’s creators is that it grows twice as fast as a wild or farm raised fish. Indeed it will take 18 months for this baby to reach full maturity and find itself in our grocery stores. Which of course translates to a generous profit for ABT.

As of the end of December the FDA has determined that the AquaAdvantage salmon poses no real environmental risk, and appears to be safe for consumption. This means that the FDA will most likely not require a label that says the salmon was genetically modified, leaving the consumer in a highly compromised position. The GE salmon will look and taste exactly like the real thing! So you could be buying it without realizing it. Salmon offers so many wonderful health benefits, it would be a real shame to eliminate it from my diet. But if I find myself unable to answer this simple question “where did you come from little salmon?”, I may have to do just that.

Several environmental protection agencies have warned that if only a handful of eggs from this GE fish were to find their way into the wild, it could wipe out our entire wild salmon population. And though I am anything but a pessimist, I really hate to think about the impact of this on the rest of our food chain.

Bill Freese, a science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, warns that the process through which the fish has to go through to be approved, has nothing to do with the way the FDA approves drugs. He warns that “This is a radical new technology. We need very good, careful, close regulation, and we just don’t have that. We can’t be assured of the safety of any of these genetically engineered organisms.” (Women’s Health, Dec. 2012) That certainly does not put me at ease.

What I find amazing is that the FDA does not conduct a third party investigation into the safety of this new food. Instead the responsibly to prove that it is safe for consumption falls squarely on the shoulders of it’s creators. And it is no surprise that the scientist behind this mutant fish claim that it is indeed perfectly safe for human consumption.

Genetically engineered (GE) and genetically modified (GMO) foods is not a new concept. Scientist discovered that they could transplant genes from the DNA of one species into a completely different one, in the 1970’s. At the time, however, the idea was to create more nutritious food with the noble goal of feeding a hungry world.

What happened instead, is that companies created two types of crops. On the one hand they created crops, such as soybean, that are highly resistant to herbicides like “Roundup”. This means that these crops are doused with 3 to 4 times the amount of herbicides that non GMO crops are sprayed with…. and these lovely chemicals end up in our water system and our bodies. The second type of GMO crop is developed with a built-in pesticide. And yes, if it’s part of the plant as it grows, it finds it’s way into our bodies as well.

The most common GMO crops are corn and soybean. And though they have only been on the market for a couple of decades, health specialist can already see the detrimental impact of these crops on our health. Most agree, however, that we really have no way of knowing the full long term consequences of these foods on our health as they have not been around long enough to collect substantial data.

In 2009, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine called for a moratorium on GM foods. The AAEM stated that “Several animal studies indicate serious health risks associated with GM food, and there is more than a casual association between GM foods and adverse health effects.” Of even greater concern me as a mom,  biologist David Schubert of the Salk Institute warns that “children are the most likely to be adversely effected by toxins and other dietary problems related to GM foods”.

In it’s natural state, a salmon’s growth period is about three months out of 12.  The growth hormone injected into the modified egg from the Eelpout turns this slow growth cycle into a perpetual one!  Meaning that the salmon grows continually from birth until maturity, which takes about 18 months.  We know all to well how devastating the impact of growth hormones found in dairy products can be on children — we are seeing young boys and girls show signs of puberty as early as 5 years old!  Yet the FDA does not seem at all concerned about the potential impact of this particular aspect of the Frankenfish.

All of the research that I have done on GM and GE foods leads me to the same conclusion : they are detrimental to our health and should be avoided at all cost.

Although ABT is lobbying vigorously to have it’s Frankenfish approved by the FDA, consumers are fighting hard. And I do pray we will prevail. You can sign a petition to urge the FDA to reject the approval of the AquaAvantage. The approval of this fish would open the door to all sorts of mutant animal products, and personally,I never want to serve those to my loved ones.

When it comes to feeding myself and my family, I have a very simple rule: eat food as close to the way God created it as possible. That means simply, stay away from anything that has been manipulated by men — processed foods and genetically modified (GMO) or genetically engineered (GE) foods.

Will you be serving the Frankenfish to your loved ones?

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