retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Associated Press reports that after $77 million of research and development, investors in technology that would have brought genetically modified salmon to the nation's supermarkets have begun to get "skittish" about the product - in part because both Kroger and Safeway have pledged not to sell it if it ever is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and in part because FDA has delayed making a decision for four years and seems no closer to making a ruling.

While FDA has said in the past that the GM salmon appears to be safe to eat, with little impact on the environment, it has not even suggested when it could make a final ruling.

The salmon, developed by AquaBounty, is designed to grow faster, and has said that "there are several safeguards designed to prevent the fish from escaping and breeding with wild salmon." But critics aren't buying it, and say that there are too many unknowns to allow the product to be sold in the US.

"By altering genetic materials of animals, scientists have proposed — and in some cases actually created — animals that would be bred to be free of diseases, be cleaner in their environment or grow more efficiently," the story says. "Think chickens bred to resist avian flu, 'Enviropigs' whose manure doesn't pollute as much or cattle bred without horns so they don't have to be taken off during slaughter.

"But where the scientists see huge opportunity, critics see a food supply put at risk. They say modified organisms can escape into the wild or mingle with native species, with unknown effects."
KC's View:
I'm not anti-science, so I don't like to make a knee-jerk judgement about such products. I can imagine circumstances when and where the development of such GM items might be necessary and/or desirable.

That said, if these things end up on the market, they need to be clearly labeled … that ought to be rule one. No ambiguity, no debate.

I also have to admit that maybe because I'm getting old and cranky about this stuff, I have no real desire to eat these things. Life's too short not to eat the real thing.