Unlabeled GMO Salmon Already Sold in Canada

Canadians have expressed their desire for mandatory labeling of genetically modified (GMO) foods for over 20 years, but it turns out that some of them are unknowingly buying and eating GMO salmon already.

Read about GMO salmon

A Massachusetts-based company called AquaBounty Technologies is the first to develop a genetically modified (GMO) salmon. The company announced on August 4 it sold about five tons of its AquAdvantage salmon in Canada, and made $53,000 in revenue from the sales of the fish.
The sales of this GMO salmon are the first time a GMO animal has been sold to consumers for human consumption.

The salmon are engineered to have genes from Pacific salmon and an Arctic eelpout. The Center for Food Safety, which sued the FDA to block approval for sale, describes the modifications to the salmon as producing “growth hormone year-round, allegedly creating a fish that grows at twice the normal rate of a typical Atlantic salmon.” The GMO salmon eggs are raised in a facility on Prince Edward Island and then the fish are shipped and raised in a facility in Panama.

Read about the 8 most common GMO foods

Aquabounty claims that its salmon is “better for the environment and consumers,” and it “believes in sustainable seafood production.” Despite AquaBounty’s assurances, Food and Water Watch has expressed a number of environmental concerns with the salmon. One of those concerns is that the salmon, which are farm raised, could escape and put wild stocks at risk. AquaBounty has stated that it will only produce sterile females in order to avoid transgenic pollution should its fish escape. That plan is flawed, however, as fish can change sex and a guaranteed method to produce only sterile fish does not exist. The company submitted data to the FDA which stated several research trials failed to achieve 100 percent sterilization. 

Read about the top ten reasons to avoid eating GMOs

The human health impacts of eating GMO salmon are not known. Lucy Sharratt of the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN) said in a statement that “no one except AquaBounty knows where the GMO salmon are.” AquaBounty has not disclosed where the salmon have been sold. “We’re shocked to discover that they’ve entered the market at this time,” Sharratt added.

Although the U.S. FDA approved the salmon, it has yet to be sold to American consumers. Two months after the FDA’s approval, the U.S. Congress attached a rider to a spending bill that requires the federal regulatory agency to develop a program to inform consumers they are buying a GMO product before it could be sold to Americans.

By Gina-Marie Cheeseman| September 19, 2017
Categories:  Live

About the Author

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie Cheeseman

Gina-Marie is a freelance writer armed with a passion for healthy living and a degree in journalism. Hailing from the dry, sunny Central San Joaquin Valley, she hasn't let the heat fry her brain!

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