Genetic salmon has very high insulin like growth factors associated with high cancer risks. Genetically engineered salmon will be the first genetically modified animal to enter the American food supply..Genetically engineered animals are regulated by the FDA under rules covering animal drugs. The salmon can be grown in 16 to 18 months instead of the 30 months required for a regular farmed Atlantic salmon.
A company called Aqua Bounty Technologies of Waltham, Mass., has for years tried to get approval for this salmon engineering. The salmon are referred to as ABT salmon. The FDA will make its final decision at the end of the month. It will take 2 to 3 years for the fish to reach American supermarkets.
The salmon is called a triploid, mono sex (all female) Atlantic salmon is referred to as Aqua Advantage Salmon. The company included data and information on diploid male and female GE salmon as well as triploid female GE salmon of the same lineage.
Groups of consumer, environmental, animal welfare, and fisheries are in greatly opposed to this venture. They are concerned that the salmon could escape and compete with wild salmon for food and mates.
Aqua bounty argues that the salmon will be grown only inland. Only sterile females will be sold limiting their ability to reproduce. Critics are unconvinced since most of the conclusions were submitted by the company.
Since no foods is completely safe, the FDA looked for any difference between food from the ABT salmon and other Atlantic salmon. The FDA concluded that the salmon meets the standard of identity for Atlantic salmon, and is the same as food from other Atlantic salmon.
No biologically relevant differences were detected nor any endogenous metabolite. There also were no biologically relevant differences in the composition or edible tissue components of amino acids, minerals, vitamins and fatty acids. The salmon contained the expected amount of nutritionally important omega three and six at an appropriate ratio for a fish source.
Only 144 salmon samples were taken and only 73 of these were analyzed for the information given to the FDA. The number of samples per group was also limited. Since the process is not perfect 5% of the fish might not be sterile.
Fish were included irrespective of sex or maturity and were not distributed uniformly within or between the different groups.
Because of limitations in the quantity of original salmon specific IgE pool, the company used commercially available sera to complete the inhibition assays. Two sets of extracts were used. The initial set was used to establish assay conditions, but all six of the assays were performed using the second set of extracts, and the second zero pool.
The fish contain an rDNA expression of the Chinook salmon growth hormone under the control of an ocean pout promoter. The allergenic potency of the fish could not be compared nor was the FDA able to determine how the company calculated its values for individual and pulled extracts from allergenic potency.
The FDA also noted an increase in the relative allergenic potency in the diploid salmon compared to the control salmon. Since salmon is eaten as one individual fillet per serving, rather than a mixture of many fish, there may be an increase in the allergenic potency of these genetically engineered salmon.
Because of the technical flaws in the study, its interpretation is limited and the FDA cannot rely on its results. There appears to be a lack of appropriate controls, experimental conditions that preclude detection, and no reliable conclusions can be drawn from this study.
Because of the low quality of the studies evaluating the allergenicity of the salmon tissue, there are uncertainties in the production and use of the eyed eggs produced in Prince Edward Island Canada, the shipping of these eggs to Panama at its grow out facility in the highlands of Panama, the processing of the fish in Panama, and the shipping of table ready process i to us in the United States. Since the location of egg productions and grow out start outside the United States. in Canada and Panama, the global commons potential effects are outside the jurisdiction of the FDA.
Normally salmon produce growth hormone only in warm weather. This salmon contains a growth hormone gene from that Chinook salmon. the growth hormone is kept active all year round by a genetic on switch from a different fish, the ocean pout. Since the hormone is produced all year round, it can grow faster than farm grown salmon.
The growth hormone gene was isolated from the Chinook salmon which are fin fish that are listed in the eight major allergenic foods in the United States. Salmon growth hormones contained multiple proteins.
Hormones associated with estradiol, testosterone, 17keto testosterone,, T3 and T4 are identified as hazards for the consumption of ABT salmon. Plasma T3 (thyroid) levels were statistically different, but not when the company pooled the total together. Eicosadienoic, linolenic, and oleic fatty acids also were statistically different. Vitamin B6 was also elevated. Since the salmon are given high energy fat diets their high crude fat content exhibited elevated total lipid levels.
INSULIN LIKE GROWTH FACTOR
The engineered salmon has higher levels of insulin like growth factor I, a hormone related to growth hormone). . High levels of this hormone are associated with greater cancer risk.
The Panama growth facility is by a river which has three levels of containment between their tanks and the river. There are four downstream settling ponds that act as only one level of containment. Despite the adequate water temperature, the river habitat in the vicinity of the facility are not favorable for Atlantic salmon or other fish species.
There are also concerns that the physical facilities would have difficulty preventing accidental release of the genetically engineered fish and shell fish during floods, storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. The production site is potentially subject to hurricanes and strong winter winds and could fall within the hundred year flood level.
Since the facility is located 25 feet above sea level at its highest point and 120 feet from the tidal river. It is potentially subject to flooding from the nearby river. The area receives 200 inches per year of annual rain, most of it coming in the wet summer months. A recent flooding of the river caused extensive damage downstream, which prevented access of authorized people. Such a repeat would potentially allowing predators to carry the salmon off-site.
Not addressed in this company renderings to the FDA. are needs for alarms, standby power, and an operational plan including training, traffic control, record keeping, and an emergency response plan.
The plan does not also discuss unintentional potential release of fertilized eggs during transport from Canada To Panama. The eggs will be transported by air freight and then ground shipment to the growth facility.
The Panama facility has an elevation of 5000 feet with water supplied by a nearby spring. The water temperature is approximate 15°C similar to the river running next to the facility. The river will also receive water discharges from the facility. A significant amount of this water volume will be diverted for use in a local hydroelectric power plant.
The report does not show whether the salmon are indeed sterile. There are reports in the literature of coho salmon and other fish species that are triploid and sometimes fertile. Research on Atlantic char shows some triploid females can develop ovaries and mature gametes.
Another potential alarming issue If their confinement would be compromised, is that a small percentage of triploids can have gonadal tissue become mosaic, bearing both diploid and triploid cells. if A mono sex, all female salmon, is an effective form of reproductive containment to complement that of triploidy, the company has, according to the FDA, has The report does not show the effectiveness of their methods used to ensure that an all-female population salmon will be produced. They state all the salmon will all be female, and 95% will be triploid.
The production fillets will be processed near the grow out facility In Panama, placed on ice, and transported to the processing plant. How the fish wastes of heads, bones, and entrails will be processed, is not described in the report but will be in accordance with applicable laws says the FDA. Note: The FDA has no regulatory jurisdiction over disposal of wastes and other countries.
It looks like a done deal folks. With all these questions raised, it is hard to believe the FDA could come to a favorable conclusion on this venture