According to the State of New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency, eating fish is really healthy.
They advise that fish is an excellent source of protein, minerals and vitamins, are low in fat and cholesterol and play an important role in maintaining a healthy, well balanced diet. While the American Heart Association agrees and recommends people eat fish regularly, soon New Jersey families could be unknowingly consuming the first genetically engineered animal intended for food.
AquaBounty, a Massachusetts based biotech firm has created a genetically engineered salmon, designed to grow twice as fast as its conventional, farm-raised counterpart. This salmon received FDA approval earlier this month. Since genetically modified foods don’t require labeling in the US, consumers won’t know whether the salmon they’ve chosen is genetically modified or not.
As far as when the salmon will be available to the public, AquaBounty said, “It is too early to discuss commercialization plans but there are several paths to market that are being considered.”
It could be argued that the “GMO issue” has become less about the science, and more about the consumers’ right to know what is in our food.
Today, 64 countries accounting for 40% of the world’s population require gmo labeling; including: the European Union, Japan, Australia, Brazil, Russia and China. In the United States, more than 70 bills have been introduced in over 30 states proposing the labeling of GMO’s. In 2013, Connecticut and Maine passed labeling laws containing provisions stating that they can’t be implemented unless border states approve similar labeling laws. Most recently, Vermont passed a labeling bill free of any provisions that will go into effect in 2016.
Here in New Jersey, Bill S 91 was introduced in January 2014 and has 14 co-sponsors. According to the bill “Every genetically modified food product that is offered for sale in the State shall contain a label indicating that the product contains genetically modified material. The information shall be displayed in a manner that is conspicuous and easily understandable to consumers.” Companion bill, A1359, was introduced mid-January, and has 15 sponsors.
A new federal bill, H.R. 1599, was passed in the House of Representatives on July 23rd of this year. If passed into law, the bill would block states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration from labeling foods that contain genetically engineered organisms. This bill would also override any existing laws already passed by individual states that mandate labeling.
If you’re looking to avoid AquaBounty’s new genetically modified salmon, make sure to purchase wild caught varieties.