Saturday, July 3, 2010

Would You Like Your Salmon in XL?

Interesting news this week in the world of genetically modified food. And, if you're thinking, you don't eat genetically modified food, think again. According to the Center for Food Safety, 70-75% of all processed foods (basically anything non-organic you buy in the interior of a grocery store, from soda to soup, crackers to cereal) are genetically modified. 85% of soy is genetically modified, as is 45% of corn. As a mother of a child who was once allergic to soy and corn, I can assure you, there are very few products in a traditional grocery store that don't contain at least one of those ingredients. I once told him he could never eat anything advertised on TV because they all contained corn. At least with the kids shows he watched, that theory was never proven wrong

One day soon, we may have the option to purchase a genetically modified salmon.

Atlantic salmonImage via Wikipedia

Specifically, it would be farm-raised Atlantic salmon that has been injected with a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon. The practice is currently under consideration by the Food and Drug Administration. According to the company developing the technology, the salmon wouldn't actually be larger, but would grow faster - twice as fast - meaning that a salmon could get to market in 18 months, rather than three years. It sounds similar with what we do with cows today. I don't recall the statistics, but I know The Omnivore's Dilemma talks about the significantly shorter amount of time it takes for a cow to reach the slaughterhouse now versus twenty years ago.

Of course, whether or not you choose to buy this salmon would be your choice, right? Not necessarily, since the FDA does not require the labeling of genetically modified food. I'm not a scientist, so I'm not going to go into details on the pros and cons of genetically modified foods, but I do think, as parents, we owe it to ourselves to be aware of what we are feeding our children. Where is the food coming from? How was it grown? How was it processed? All good things to know - and certainly a good argument for buying from local farmers, frequenting farmers markets and asking questions, buying organic, or starting your own garden.

1 comment:

  1. I can safely say that we won't eat it. Without knowing, I bought farm-raised salmon and Atlantic Salmon and our family doesn't like either one. This is one decision that's easy in our house. It's crazy though that things are not so cut and dry with most items in a supermarket. Thanks for sharing.