Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Are Genetically Modified Animals Or Plants Safe to Eat?
There's been a lot of outcry as the FDA just approved a genetically modified animal for human consumption for the first time. Sure, tweak 80 percent of U.S. food, but keep your test tubes off our salmon! organisms GMO's incite heat on both sides. Many believe genetically modified organisms are more efficient than cross-breeding plants for many generations and crossing fingers; while detractors believe we shouldn't genetically modify the food we eat and should keep it "natural." I use finger quotes not to make fun, but because what "natural" means in this context is confusing for many, if not most people, even the FDA get's confused about it! Now, joining the list of tomatoes, potatoes, soy/tofu, rice, cotton, corn (so much corn), canola oil, squash, alfalfa, and mosquitoes, is GM salmon.
According to AquAdvantage, the company that modified the fish, the salmon contains genes from "Chinook salmon and an eel-like species," which means it will grow all year, and at a faster rate than natural salmon. It will, of course, need to eat more food to grow at such a rate, but will only live in fish farms so won't be competing with natural varieties. According to the FDA, "there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon." And now that they've been approved for human consumption, they'll swim their way onto some store shelves and on top of our bagels.
This has, unsurprisingly, caused a huge outcry from anti-GMO activists. Some stores are even refusing to sell the genetically modified fishes. According to pretty much every scientific group or organization on the planet, GM organisms are completely 100 percent safe for humans. There are more than 600 studies on it, all saying GMOs are safe. And yet, people are still nervous, and I get why, you're messing with my food man! Most GM grains sold in the US are used for animal feed.
According to Consumer Reports, pretty much every human food sample they tested contained GMOs, except those which explicitly said otherwise; that included cereals, baby formula, veggie burgers, and popular chip brands. GMOs were found in products labeled "organic" and "natural" because those labels don't mean anything and aren't regulated. According to the FDA this salmon, dubbed a "frankenfish" by the activist groups, is safe to eat, and will allegedly pose no threat to the environment. The FDA approval requires the salmon to live only in fish farms, but even if one did escape, 95 percent of the fish are sterile. Cross your fingers any escapee isn't one of the five percent. Some GM grains like canola have been created which don't reproduce at all; like Jurassic Park's "Lysine Contingency" the GMOs can't live in the wild without the "special sauce" the lab uses to grow them. But c'mon you guys, shouldn't that have been step 1? Not an afterthought. We already have GM plants growing in nature all over the U.S., and no one knows what's going to happen there. This isn't the only GMO animal in the research and approval pipeline.
A line of goats was created whose milk can prevent deadly diarrhea in children, the company is marketing it to the government of Brazil, where children still die from diarrhea. A species of chicken was modified which suppresses the replication of bird flu virus, and pigs are also being bred that are resistant to swine flu! All this sounds pretty good, but, it seems to me, people get increasingly uncomfortable as the animals come closer to their tables... In a partnership between Harvard Medical, University of Missouri and the University of Pittsburgh a GM pig was created which produces higher omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are essential for health, but are not synthesized by mammals. Instead, they're found in microorganisms, algae, plankton and worms; fish get their omega-3s from algae too! By modifying a worm enzyme for a pig species, this pig is now a source of omega-3s!
There are plans to modify cattle to stop them growing sharp horns which can be dangerous for farmhands and other cows, and mix various traits from different cow species to produce more milk, more beef or whatever is required. GM meat is here. It's right. Here. Supporters and company representatives say as the population continues to increase exponentially, humanity needs food sources that have a lesser impacts on the environment. Transgenic animals -- those with genes from other species -- had yet to be rated as "safe for human consumption" until now. But, according to allllllll the science that's fit to print, GMOs are safe, and this fish is heading out, but how do you feel about them? Are you concerned about GMOs? Would you buy a GMO salmon? GMOs are everywhere now, but people still have a misunderstanding of what they are.
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