Is Genetically Altered Salmon Safe for Consumers- FDA Mulls Approval

If food safety organizations are to be believed, soon you may be eating "frankenfish" at a restaurant near you.  A company named AquaBounty has developed a new genetically engineered salmon which reportedly grows at twice the normal rate of farm raised salmon.  The company claims these fish would be mature faster and be able to go to market sooner, netting a higher profit for farmers.  But what about the amount of hormones and genetically altered foods we're putting in our bodies?  Is this safe for humans to consume? 

At least 30 Congressmen and 14 Senators say no, and have encouraged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to reject adding this salmon to the nation's food supply.  According to food industry watchdogs, Food & Water Watch, this genetically altered salmon is "full of downsides to consumers, salmon growers and the environment." 

Are Genetically Altered Foods Harmful to Consumers

There are many advocates for whole and natural foods, but to date, the effects of genetically modified salmon are largely unknown.  So what if the fish grows at a faster rate?  Well, there may be hidden dangers associated with consuming this fish that are only triggered later.  And there could be a danger that these fish may take over existing populations of fish in America much like the Asian Karp has. 

But more importantly, according to researchers such as Dr Michael Antoniou of King’s College London School of Medicine in England, laboratory animals fed genetically modified food experience harmful effects.  Part of the reason for this is the inherent pesticides.  Because of genetic engineering, many plants are now resistant to pesticides, causing farmers to use higher amounts and stronger chemicals.  These same chemicals have been linked to various cancers in farmers and growers. 

Additionally, genetically modified foods could pose a problem for new allergens.  As our food supply changes, many people's reactions will similarly change to these foods. Could this create new allergens and risk consumer health?

The Jury is Still Out

To date, the jury is still out.  The FDA has one final step to either approve the fish or reject it.  An approval would mean in 60 days, genetically altered salmon will be sitting on the supermarket shelves alongside the rest of your fish and you may never know the difference.  Consumers who find themselves injured because of food products such as this genetically engineered salmon should seek medical attention and contact a skilled product liability lawyer for advice.