Target: Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Stop the government from approving genetically engineered salmon for consumption
The United States Food and Drug Administration is set to approve the sale of genetically engineered salmon and allow it to enter into the mainstream American food supply. The new salmon that consumers would see has been dubbed “Frankenfish,” as it borrows various traits from other sea creatures. The new salmon, called AquaAdvantage and created by AquaBounty, a Massachusetts based company, contains growth hormones from the large Chinook salmon as well as genetic traits of the ocean pout, an Atlantic dwelling fish that resembles an eel. The ocean pout has become popular in genetically modified foods because of certain proteins in its blood, which acts as an antifreeze agent.
Presently it is not even necessary for producers to label their products that are genetically modified. Monsanto, the massive firm that has cornered the genetically engineered plant and seed market is partially to blame for this, using their massive fortune and power to bully administrators and regulators.
Genetically engineered foods have been hotly debated lately. However, the science on them is not yet clear. Some scientists and researchers claim that genetically modifying our crops and livestock is harmless, resulting in cheaper, more satisfying foodstuffs. Other researchers, as well as environmentalists and consumer rights advocates have argued the exact opposite—that genetically modified foods are dangerous to humans, that there is no need to introduce unnecessary chemicals into our diets, and most importantly that there are just too many unknown variables that go along with genetically engineered food. Simply put, the science is not there yet.
Furthermore, the introduction of what is essentially a new species of fish into the wild could be potentially disastrous for natural salmon and fish stocks (AquaBounty has not had the best track record in terms of security and environmental stewardship). This is not an area that has been adequately researched. Before AquaAdvantage salmon is approved for sale and consumption it is imperative that its environmental impacts are known.
Genetically modified foods are potentially dangerous for consumers; they have more potential allergens and more chemicals that should not be in a human diet than any other kind of food. Until they are fully understood and exhaustively researched they should not be allowed to make it onto people’s dinner plates. Tell the Food and Drug Administration not to approve AquaAdvantage salmon.
Dear Commissioner Hamburg,
The world is abuzz right now with news and debate regarding genetically engineered and modified foods. Various food crops and livestock have been scientifically altered to be more desirable in one way or another: maybe they have been changed to grow faster, be more fertile, or grow larger. Certainly as Commissioner of the FDA none of this is news to you; you have been dealing with the issues regarding genetically enhanced foods for ages.
As you may have guessed by now, genetically enhanced foods are the reason I am writing to you today. The Food and Drug Administration is slated to approve a new kind of genetically modified salmon in the very near future. Created by the company AquaBounty, the AquaAdvantage salmon (as it has been named) will grow faster than natural species of the fish. However, like all genetically engineered foods, it comes with massive and terrifying unknown factors.
We do not know how it will affect our oceans and our natural salmon populations as well as those of other fish if it somehow escapes into the wild. Chances are good that it would devastate them, quickly taking over the seas. Additionally, we are not fully certain what, if any, effects it will have on human health. This is an unacceptable risk, and the fact that AquaAdvantage salmon could have extremely allergenic properties is a danger that Americans should not be exposed to. Please reconsider approving AquaAdvantage salmon, at least for now. It is simply something that needs more research at this juncture.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Andrea Pokrzywinski via flickr