FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Brave New Food: GEs and Clones are Heading to the Dinner Table

by

Consumers, safety activists, Big Food, biotech companies and many of the US’s importing and exporting partners have been closely watching to see if the FDA would approve the genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon, which it did last month. Of course unlabeled GE crops are eaten by millions and GE animals have been created to make human drugs largely under the public radar. Still the AquAdvantage Salmon is the first approved GE animal destined for the US dinner table.

The AquAdvantage Salmon is not the only GE food animal in the works. Scientists at the Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where Dolly the cloned sheep was created, have spent years creating chickens that can be used as “biofactories” to make eggs with interferon and other disease-fighting substances.

“Once you’ve made the transgenic birds, then it’s very easy,” enthused scientist Helen Sang, PhD. “You can breed up hundreds of birds from one cockerel [young male]—because they can be bred with hundreds of hens and you can collect an egg a day and have hundreds of chicks in no time.

Other researchers are working on animals engineered to contain omega-3. Scientists at Harvard Medical School, the University of Missouri and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center have concocted “white piglets with muscle tissue larded with omega-3 fatty acids,” say published reports. All they had to do was modify a round-worm enzyme that converts omega-6 to omega-3, inject the gene into mouse embryos to create mice that make their own omega-3, and transfer the genetic material into pigs–and voila!

“People can continue to eat their junk food,” said Harvard’s Alexander Leaf, MD about the brave new pigs. “You won’t have to change your diet, but you will be getting what you need.” Aren’t animals great?

US citizens are also likely eating food from cloned animals, say many reports.  The FDA ruled in 2008 that products from clones and their offspring were safe to eat and, like GE crops, would not be labeled because they are “no different from food derived from conventionally bred animals.”

The BBC has reported that cloned products have been in the US food supply for years and Jim McLaren, president of Scotland’s National Farmers Union, concurred. “If you go to the US or Canada you will almost certainly be consuming meat and dairy products from cloned animals at every turn,” he said.

Margaret Wittenberg, global vice-president of Whole Foods Market, also acknowledges cloned products in the food supply. United States customers are “oblivious” to them in the food supply, she told the BBC. “You don’t hear about it in the media. And when you do tell people about it they look at you and say ‘you’re kidding! They’re not doing that are they? Why would they?’”

Whole Foods says it bans the sale of cloned products and has a history of banning other dangerous and murky technology behind our food supply.

Like the FDA, US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack sees no safety risks with cloned meat products. “We know all the research, all of the review of this [cloned meat] is suggested that this is safe,” he said during a 2010 trade mission in Canada.

You don’t have to love animals to be offended by the move toward “Franken foods.” They violate consumers’ rights to know and threaten the very balance of nature. The FDA approval of the genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon is a case in point: AquAdvantage Salmon eat five times as much as wild salmon and have less fear of predators. If they escape, are we looking at Jurassic Park?

More articles by:

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

February 21, 2018
Cecil Bothwell
Billy Graham and the Gospel of Fear
Ajamu Baraka
Venezuela: Revenge of the Mad-Dog Empire
Edward Hunt
Treating North Korea Rough
Binoy Kampmark
Meddling for Empire: the CIA Comes Clean
Ron Jacobs
Stamping Out Hunger
Ammar Kourany – Martha Myers
So, You Think You Are My Partner? International NGOs and National NGOs, Costs of Asymmetrical Relationships
Michael Welton
1980s: From Star Wars to the End of the Cold War
Judith Deutsch
Finkelstein on Gaza: Who or What Has a Right to Exist? 
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
War Preparations on Venezuela as Election Nears
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Military Realities
Steve Early
Refinery Safety Campaign Frays Blue-Green Alliance
Ali Mohsin
Muslims Face Increasing Discrimination, State Surveillance Under Trump
Julian Vigo
UK Mass Digital Surveillance Regime Ruled Illegal
Peter Crowley
Revisiting ‘Make America Great Again’
Andrew Stewart
Black Panther: Afrofuturism Gets a Superb Film, Marvel Grows Up and I Don’t Know How to Review It
CounterPunch News Service
A Call to Celebrate 2018 as the Year of William Edward Burghardt Du Bois by the Saturday Free School
February 20, 2018
Nick Pemberton
The Gun Violence the Media Shows Us and the State Violence They Don’t
John Eskow
Sympathy for the Drivel: On the Vocabulary of President Nitwit
John Steppling
Trump, Putin, and Nikolas Cruz Walk Into a Bar…
John W. Whitehead
America’s Cult of Violence Turns Deadly
Ishmael Reed
Charles F. Harris: He Popularized Black History
Will Podmore
Paying the Price: the TUC and Brexit
George Burchett
Plumpes Denken: Crude thinking
Binoy Kampmark
The Caring Profession: Peacekeeping, Blue Helmets and Sexual Abuse
Lawrence Wittner
The Trump Administration’s War on Workers
David Swanson
The Question of Sanctions: South Africa and Palestine
Walter Clemens
Murderers in High Places
Dean Baker
How Does the Washington Post Know that Trump’s Plan Really “Aims” to Pump $1.5 Trillion Into Infrastructure Projects?
February 19, 2018
Rob Urie
Mueller, Russia and Oil Politics
Richard Moser
Mueller the Politician
Robert Hunziker
There Is No Time Left
Nino Pagliccia
Venezuela Decides to Hold Presidential Elections, the Opposition Chooses to Boycott Democracy
Daniel Warner
Parkland Florida: Revisiting Michael Fields
Sheldon Richman
‘Peace Through Strength’ is a Racket
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Taking on the Pentagon
Patrick Cockburn
People Care More About the OXFAM Scandal Than the Cholera Epidemic
Ted Rall
On Gun Violence and Control, a Political Gordian Knot
Binoy Kampmark
Making Mugs of Voters: Mueller’s Russia Indictments
Dave Lindorff
Mass Killers Abetted by Nutjobs
Myles Hoenig
A Response to David Axelrod
Colin Todhunter
The Royal Society and the GMO-Agrochemical Sector
Cesar Chelala
A Student’s Message to Politicians about the Florida Massacre
Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail