Genetically modified meat is an example of environmental justice that is currently widely debated. GMOs are organisms whose DNA has been altered in order to provide different benefits such as parasite resistance, nutritional benefits, shorter growing time and bigger crops. GMO products were primarily all plants but the introduction of GMO salmon onto the market, by AquaAdvantage, caused quite the controversy this year. The company created a genetically modified salmon that shares genes from the Chinook salmon and from the pout fish that allows it to grow to its full size in half the amount of time as the normal Atlantic salmon while retaining the same nutritional value. Many large chain grocery stores have already made statements about not carrying the new salmon because of the, ethical, environmental, and health, concerns that plague the general public about the new modified fish. Concerns about the GMO fish escaping into the wild are a main topic as a study by Muir and Howard in 1999 found that genetically modified fish introduced into the wild caused for lower offspring of the natural fish. AquaAdvantage claims this will be of no concern because the fish are sterile, and they have extreme measures put in place to ensure the fish do not escape into the wild.
Personally, I would not buy the GMO salmon and I find the approval by the FDA to be very problematic. The issue with GMO salmon is the fact that GMO’s in general are fairly new, the full effects are constantly debated because solid research and review on the long term effects of these modified organisms has not had the time to take place. It is foolish for the FDA to approve of something, without the proper large scale research, that has no specifically known benefit other than financial ones for AquaAdvantage. With major grocery stores turning down the new salmon it brings concern to where this salmon is going to be utilized. AquaAdvantage will be able to offer their salmon at a lower price as they can have a large surplus, so I believe we will see the genetically modified salmon in many group living areas such as college dorms, school cafeterias, senior citizen homes, correctional facilities and in extremely impoverished areas. If there turns out to be health effects from the GMO salmon large numbers of people, who have no choice in the matter due to living circumstances, will be effected.
Phillips, T. (2008) Genetically modified organisms (GMOs): Transgenic crops and recombinant DNA technology. Nature Education 1(1):213
You can eat safely GMO salmon,says FDA – Memphis Tech Week – Albany Daily Star Gazette. (2016, August 03). Retrieved August 03, 2016, from http://www.albanydailystar.com/health/you-can-eat-safely-gmo-salmonsays-fda-memphis-tech-week-11320.html