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Hi, I'm Malcolm Woods

I’m the New Media Editor at Outpost, though I’m the old media editor, as well. In both capacities, I read, hear, photograph and write about food. I also eat food pretty regularly, all of which means I spend a lot of time thinking about food in...
Malcolm Woods

Loaves and (GMO) Fishes

Food, Love and Policy By Malcolm Woods on October 10, 2011

A news report today says an approval of the first genetically-modified animal for human consumption is now in final review at the federal level. The animal, a genetically engineered salmon bred to grow to market size at a much quicker rate than regular fish, has gained the support of the Food and Drug Administration and forwarded to the White House for final review.


The fish, with the brand name AquAdvantage, was developed by a Massachusetts company. The process splices genetic material from another variety of salmon and an eel into the cells of an Atlantic salmon. The new genetic material helps to govern and regulate the salmon's growth - and setting the new fish off on continuous rapid growth.


Proponents of the new fish and of the technology behind it point to declining wild fish stocks and the planet's burgeoning human population - and appetite. These new GMO species of fish drastically shorten the time it takes for fish to get to market size, which means, say supporters, more food for our hungry world.


But opponents of GMO foods are skeptical. They argue that potential health dangers of consuming GMO fish have not been adequately studied. And some opponents are worried that the fish, intended for land-locked fish farms and altered to prevent reproduction, may escape and mix with wild fish populations, causing unintended consequences. Talking Points Memo has a good review of the issue here.


What do you think? Is it worth the risk?


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