The world’s first genetically modified salmon has just become legal for sale in Canada, and, to the disappointment of health experts and consumers alike, it is not going to be labelled.
The company that is producing these GMO salmon have been fighting for legal approval since 1995, and finally got their wish from the Canadian government last Thursday. This approval from the Canadian government came only six months after the sale of this same GMO salmon was approved in the United States by American regulators.
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This GMO salmon was developed by a Canadian company called AquaBounty Technologies, who dubbed their creation “AquAdvantage Salmon.” Since the invention of this type of GMO salmon in 1982, AquaBounty’s attempts to put it on the market have been blocked by politics, activism and lawsuits. However, over 30 years after its original conception, it is now available for consumption.
This type of GMO salmon is genetically modified to grow very large very quickly. It was created by taking a growth hormone gene from a Chinook salmon, the largest species of salmon, and adding it to the genome of a relatively small Atlantic salmon.
Since, according to Health Canada, this GMO salmon is “safe and nutritious for humans and livestock as conventional salmon”, it is not even going to have any identifying labels when it is going to be put on the market.
Aside from just selling the salmon to restaurants and grocery stores, AquaBounty will also be selling AquAdvantage salmon eggs to conventional fish farms in land-based facilities. This could lead to the production of this type of GMO salmon becoming even more widespread than it already is.
GMO Salmon Health Risks
Many health risks have been associated with eating GMO salmon, and GMO foods in general. Several studies conducted on mice (which have a genetic makeup that is around 85% the same as humans) have shown that eating GMO corn had negative health effects on organs such as the liver, heart, adrenal glands and spleen.
As for GMO salmon specifically, many health risks have been overlooked when considering its safety for human consumption. For example, many experts believe that the genetic modification of these fish could potentially create new allergic triggers which would go unknown until it effects a paying consumer. Other experts worry that that these GMO salmon’s immune system may be compromised, making them more susceptible to parasites or other infections.
To avoid the possibly harmful health risks associated with eating GMO salmon, opt for either organically farmed or wild caught salmon. For more information on GMO foods and how to reduce your exposure to it, click here.
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