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Hearing on genetically modified salmon sparks new concerns

Hearing on genetically modified salmon sparks new concerns

by Terri Gruca

Bio | Email | Follow: @TerriG_KVUE


Posted on September 13, 2010 at 9:12 AM

Updated Monday, Sep 13 at 8:50 PM

Pretty soon the salmon you order could be genetically modified.

A scientific panel of experts that advises the FDA paved the way for approval on September 3. They called it “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon.”

So now the FDA is scheduled to hold public hearings on the matter next week, September 19 through the 21.

The company seeking approval is AquaBounty. The company’s technique allows salmon to grow twice as fast as ordinary Atlantic salmon.

If approved, this would become the first ever genetically modified animal to make it to America’s restaurant menus.

Most of you realize we already eat a lot of genetically modified foods. According to the Center for Food Safety, “up to 45 percent of U.S. corn is genetically engineered as is 85 percent of soybeans. It has been estimated that 70-75 percent of processed foods on supermarket shelves--from soda to soup, crackers to condiments--contain genetically engineered ingredients.”

The problem is how these foods are regulated. Eight agencies attempt to regulate biotechnology using 12 different statutes or laws that were written long before genetically engineered food, animals and insects became a reality,” according to the Center for Food Safety.

Many are concerned that the only research on this salmon was done by AquaBounty, the company seeking approval. Even the FDA admits there are no regulations for bio-engineered food. So many people question the safety of these products both on humans and our food chain.

There is an effort underway to force Congress to pass more laws to address the testing of genetically engineered foods. You can learn more here.

Right now Europe requires genetically modified foods to be labeled. That is not a requirement in America. That leaves it up to you.

What's in your food?

The Center for Food Safety has come up with a list of the most common genetically engineered Big Four ingredients found in processed foods. They are:

  • Corn-- Corn flour, meal, oil, starch, gluten, and syrup; Sweeteners such as fructose, dextrose, and glucose; Modified food starch.
  • Soy --Soy flour, lecithin, protein, isolate, and isoflavone;  Vegetable oil* and vegetable protein.
  • Canola Canola oil (also called rapeseed oil)
  • Cotton Cottonseed oil

You can print out a guide to take with you to the store here. It contains lists of some of the brands that are known not to contain these ingredients.

The Center for Food Safety also has a new cell phone app for the iPhone or the Droid. You can download and take with you to the store to help you determine which foods are genetically modified here or search for "True Foods" on iTunes.