By Melissa Diane Smith, author of Going Against GMOs
(Opinion) – In the week before Thanksgiving, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first genetically engineered animal—AquaBounty’s genetically modified salmon—for sale in the United States. The decision, which enraged most consumers (myself included of course!), signals yet another example of how our government agencies continue to side with biotech companies over the wishes of the American people and make decisions that end up literally shoving risky, untested, unlabeled genetically modified foods down our throats whether we like it or not.
The initial reaction to the FDA’s approval of the “fish” (which is actually regulated as a drug in order to expedite the approval process!) is disheartening and infuriating to anyone who cares about having pure, uncontaminated, health-enhancing food. Yet we as citizens and consumers need to know that the story about genetically modified (GM) salmon isn’t totally written yet.
For one thing, GM salmon won’t instantly be in stores; a tiny amount could reach supermarkets in two years or more. Another thing: the FDA’s decision has started to awaken more of what I call “a sleeping giant”—the vast majority of American consumers who weren’t paying much attention to the serious health and environmental issues surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in our foods until they heard about GM salmon. Plus, fierce opposition—both legal and market-oriented—is mounting against GM salmon that could stop so-called frankenfish from reaching our plates.