BY RYAN GOODYEAR
I was fairly certain that people had taken modifying foods too far when I first heard about the Grapple, an apple designed to taste like a grape. However, after reading an article on AquaBounty Technology and their AquAdvantage salmon, I know people, and specifically corporations, have gone too far.
AquaBounty Technologies is an American company, yet they hold operations here in Canada, specifically on Prince Edward Island. The are currently awaiting permission from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a genetically modified salmon, and if they receive it, they will be the first company to successfully put genetically modified animals on our dinner plates.
AquAdvantage salmon are Atlantic salmon which contain a growth hormone gene that allows them to grow quicker and pack on more pounds than your normal everyday salmon. The company has managed to create this frankenfish by splicing genes from a Chinook salmon and adding DNA from another fish known as an ocean pout.
Now you may say to yourself, well, that’s not so bad, at least they are only using genes from other fish. But the simple matter of the fact is it’s just not natural. I will admit that a McDonald’s Big Mac isn’t natural either, but I would still rather scarf down 12 quarter pounders with cheese and finish it off with a bag of pure MSG than even consider eating something that has had its DNA genetically modified.
I understand that we live in a society where bigger, better and faster are what’s coveted, but since when did letting an animal grow to maturity the natural way become a problem? What’s next, veal that’s ready to eat the moment it comes out of the womb? The line needs to be drawn somewhere.
There’s a whole array of unforeseen problems that could arise if this food is approved. For example, if these frankenfish were to somehow get out into the wild en masse they could become a serious problem. These genetically modified salmon would become a sort of native, invasive species, competing and eventually destroying wild salmon.
Do I even need to get into the fact of what the long-term effects of this could be on humans? We simply do not know what effect genetically modified food, specifically animals, has on people because it has not been around long enough, and certainly hasn’t been tested long enough. We could find out years from now that this food causes or is linked to serious health complications.
I understand that I could be wrong and this salmon could be a massive breakthrough in food. But, the fact that we don’t know the long-term side effects scares me. The general population should not allow themselves to be guinea pigs.
Let’s keep our food natural, or, as natural as we can get these days. We already spray our crops with multitudes of pesticides and ingest who knows what chemicals and preservatives with every bite of fast food we take. At the very least let’s let our animals grow at a normal, healthy speed. I would rather eat a salmon that’s slightly smaller than eat a frankenfish that has been pieced together using different species.