This week, the FDA decides whether to allow genetically-modified (GM) salmon in our food supply. A biotech company engineered salmon genes to create a version of the fish that grows twice as fast. This will help the world fight overfishing and starvation. Sounds great to me!
But “natural” foods activists like Ben & Jerry’s CEO Josten Solheim are horrified. “Today it's a fish we are talking about, but very soon it will be a genetically engineered pig, a chicken, even God forbid, our beloved cows,” he said. The activists believe so-called “Frankenfish” are bad for the ecosystem because they are unnatural. They may somehow get into the wild and contaminate the genetically pure breeds.
However, much of what we consider “natural” and “pure” isn’t. Do these people think a French poodle is “natural”? All of the foods and animals we eat are unnatural because of thousands of years of primitive genetic engineering -- selective breeding. While the salmon would be the first government-approved GM animal, America already grows GM corn and soy without any serious problems.
Of course, the granola crowd is convinced that modern science is dangerous. The Alliance for Natural Health warned the FDA, "this recklessly and needlessly endangers human health." Those concerns are simply unfounded, says Reason Magazine’s Katherine Mangu-Ward. The world should embrace Frankenfish:
Instead of endangering the ecosystem, salmon 2.0 will protect it. Irresponsible human behavior caused overfishing and shortages, but clever human invention has discovered a way to fix these problems. As we learned to do in kindergarten, we're cleaning up our own mess. Don't worry, just dig in and feel good about your healthy dinner and your environmental impact.