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GE Salmon — let's label it!

One of the most common misconceptions about genetically engineered foods is they are engineered to become more nutritious. This is not true — today's genetically engineered (GE) foods are "stacked" with foreign DNA so they will either produce pesticides or withstand herbicides or both, such as Monsanto's new "double-stacked" sweet corn. And now, with the very first GE animal for human consumption, genetic engineering has produced a food offering less nutrition than the original food it is replacing.

Salmon, easily the most iconic food celebrated here in the Northwest, will very likely soon become the first ever GE animal food for human consumption. And the company that produced it admits their GE salmon is less nutritious.

What's the unique nutritional benefit from salmon? Omega-3 fatty acids, right? Well, GE salmon will offer you fewer omega 3s — the essential fatty acid that supports brain health, helps manage inflammation, and is found in very few foods.

So, why would anyone want to put eel-like genes into salmon, knowing the end result would be a less nutritious food? To make the fish grow faster. GE salmon reach their market weight in about half the amount of time it takes today's salmon to be ready for market. As a result of this super-growth, the GE salmon contain higher levels of the growth hormone IGF-1, a known carcinogen.

To summarize, the biotech industry has created a new "food" to replace one of the healthiest foods on the planet, except that the new and "enhanced" GE salmon will offer fewer heart-healthy omega 3s, and more cancer-promoting IGF-1 growth hormones. Oh, and did I mention that consumers won't be able to tell whether the salmon they are buying at the store is genetically engineered? That is, unless...

This November, Washington voters have a chance to tell the food industry that they would like to know whether or not their foods are genetically engineered. Voting "YES" on Initiative 522 will require foods produced with genetic engineering to be labeled in Washington state, making it much easier for everyone to make an informed choice when shopping at the grocery store.

GMO labeling is important to eaters around the planet for a wide variety of reasons, and 64 countries around the world already label foods produced with genetic engineering. Do you want to avoid GMOs in your breakfast cereal, lunch box and salmon dinner? Then vote YES on 522!

by Nick Rose, M.S., PCC Nutrition Educator

More about: GE salmon, salmon, seafood

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Nick Rose, M.S.

Nick Rose, PCC Cooks instructor

As a Nutrition Educator for PCC Natural Markets, Nick leads weekly "Walk, Talk, and Taste" classes, where he reveals the seasonal, sustainable, and delicious food choices found at PCC. Before coming to PCC, Nick taught nutrition courses at Bastyr University and his alma mater-Virginia Tech.

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