Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
HAVE YOUR DONATION DOUBLED!

If you are able to donate $100 or more for our Annual Fund Drive, your donation will be matched by another generous CounterPuncher! These are tough times. Regardless of the political rhetoric bantered about the airwaves, the recession hasn’t ended for most of us. We know that money is tight for many of you. But we also know that tens of thousands of daily readers of CounterPunch depend on us to slice through the smokescreen and tell it like is. Please, donate if you can!

FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Brave New Food So Safe It’s Not Even Labeled

by

Almost every issue that food activists care about—unlabeled, dangerous ingredients and drug traces; crowded, polluted farms that harm workers and the environment; Agribiz cornering the food supply and destroying family farms; and animal suffering—is magnified when genetically modified (GM) or genetically engineered (GE) animals are added into the equation.

Concerned that there are antibiotics or antibiotic-resistant germs in your food? With GM and GE animal products, you’re actually eating altered genes. Worried about what crowded, manure-and drug-polluted farms do to workers, animals and the environment? GM and GE animals permit even greater densities or “production efficiencies” as biotech farmers call it. That’s why they’re done.

Concerned about ag giants and chemical companies squeezing family farmers and poor nations out of existence through patents and robber-baron laws? Every mouthful of a GM and GE animal is “owned” by a corporation.

Horrified to see dairy cows forklifted to slaughter because they are too weak to walk? The point of animal biotech is to get more money’s worth out of each animal “unit,” at the price of higher culls, mortality and animals too weak to walk.

Many people are aware of genetically engineered or modified crops like Roundup Ready Soybeans, Bt-corn, and Golden Rice which Big Food does not want labeled. (Who would buy them?) Biotech companies claim such GMO crops are “green” because they reduce herbicide and fertilizer use. The truth is just the opposite. GMO crops increase the use of herbicides and fertilizers and oxygen-depleted dead zones in oceans. The only thing green is the money Biotech makes.

(People are less aware of animals that have been genetically modified for non-food human use like the transgenic goat with a human gene that has been patented by GTC Biotherapeutics to produce a blood-clotting drug. Goats given a spider gene also exist to produce material to be spun into textile fibers. Aren’t animals great?)

Get Ready to Eat GM Salmon

Since the public largely rejected milk made from Monsanto’s genetically modified rBGH designed to get more milk out of each cow (created from inserting the DNA sequence for a cow’s natural growth hormone into the DNA of E. coli) chemical and biotech companies and Big Food nervously watched the fate of the AquAdvantage salmon.

Instead of reaching its full size in three years, the AquAdvantage salmon, created by AquaBounty, is ready for dinner plates in just eighteen months, cutting production costs in half. Ka-ching. It was created by inserting the coding sequence from a Chinook salmon growth-hormone gene under the control of an “antifreeze protein promoter and terminator” from ocean pout into wild Atlantic salmon. It was quickly dubbed a Frankenfish by critics.

Biotech and Big Food needn’t have worried. The AquAdvantage was approved by the FDA in 2015 despite:

* high incidences of “jaw erosion” and “focal inflammation” (infection) in the            fish cited in government and AquaBounty’s briefing materials

* the admission in briefing materials that excessive culling of “abnormal”       salmon made it impossible to determine if the fish posed greater allergy           risks

* a possible “increase in the level of IGF-1,” insulin-like growth factor-1, in     the fish, cited in briefing materials

It is already being sold in Canada.

Like biotech companies, AquAdvantage salmon promoters played the green card. Even though AquaBounty will grow eggs in Canada and ship them in plastic coolers to Panama to grow the adults out, AquAdvantage salmon promoters actually said the fish had a reduced  “carbon footprint.”  Why? Because grow-out is closer to “domestic population centers” and water densities will be increased to “80 to 100” fish per cubic meter.  They also played the feed-the-world humanitarian card, like Elanco’s Frankenfood apologism campaign called Sensible Table (“How We’ll Feed The World.”)

There is a final irony to the AquAdvantage salmon. Many people eat salmon because of its desirable omega-3 oil which experts say is compromised in AquAdvantage salmon. According to Michael Hansen, PhD, senior scientist with Consumers Union, “in terms of the ratio of omega-3 to omega-6 fatty acids, GE salmon fare worse than wild fish and slightly worse than farmed salmon.”

Still, there is some good news. If the AquAdvantage salmon survives an FDA lawsuit  by environmental groups and fishing organizations and heads toward U.S. dinner tables, some stores will not comply. Walmart, Albertsons, Target, Ahold and Delhaize America are among stores that have said they will not sell the product.  Even though the FDA does not hear U.S. food consumers, apparently some grocery chains do.

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).

October 23, 2017
Jack Heyman
Puerto Rico and the Jones Act Conundrum
Howard Lisnoff
Will the Military Throw the Book at Bowe Bergdahl?
Robert Hunziker
Hidden Danger of Ecological Collapse
Sheldon Richman
Dying for the Empire is Not Heroic
Dimitris Konstantakopoulos
Careening Toward Nuclear War: the Political Paralysis of Europe, Russia and China
Jeff Berg
Looking for a Glass of Water and a Place to Shit
Yoav Litvin
The Art of Trolling – an Analysis of a Toxic Trend
Sarah Browning
There’s No Defense for Founding Fathers Who Practiced Slavery
Chuck Collins
An Independent Thinker’s Guide to the Tax Debate
Elliott Adams
Congress Can Stop War with North Korea
Jesselyn Radack – Kathleen McClellan
Insider Threat Program Training and Trump’s War on Leaks
Rosemary Mason - Colin Todhunter
The Global Food and Health Crisis: Monsanto’s Science is Bogus
Thomas Knapp
Hillary Clinton: Cold Creepiness with a Side of Corruption
Mel Gurtov
The Tragedy of American Foreign Policy
Weekend Edition
October 20, 2017
Friday - Sunday
John Pilger
Clinton, Assange and the War on Truth
Michael Hudson
Socialism, Land and Banking: 2017 Compared to 1917
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in the Life of CounterPunch
Paul Street
The Not-So-Radical “Socialist” From Vermont
Jason Hirthler
Censorship in the Digital Age
Jonathan Cook
Harvey Weinstein and the Politics of Hollywood
Andrew Levine
Diagnosing the Donald
Michelle Renee Matisons
Relocated Puerto Rican Families are Florida’s Latest Class War Targets
Richard Moser
Goldman Sachs vs. Goldman Sachs?
David Rosen
Male Sexual Violence: As American as Cherry Pie
Mike Whitney
John Brennan’s Police State USA
Robert Hunziker
Mr. Toxicity Zaps America
Peter Gelderloos
Catalan Independence and the Crisis of Democracy
Robert Fantina
Fatah, Hamas, Israel and the United States
Edward Curtin
Organized Chaos and Confusion as Political Control
Patrick Cockburn
The Transformation of Iraq: Kurds Have Lost 40% of Their Territory
CJ Hopkins
Tomorrow Belongs to the Corporatocracy
Bill Quigley
The Blueprint for the Most Radical City on the Planet
Brian Cloughley
Chinese Dreams and American Deaths in Africa
John Hultgren
Immigration and the American Political Imagination
Thomas Klikauer
Torturing the Poor, German-Style
Gerry Brown
China’s Elderly Statesmen
Pepe Escobar
Kirkuk Redux Was a Bloodless Offensive, Here’s Why
Jill Richardson
The Mundaneness of Sexual Violence
Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin
The Choreography of Human Dignity: Blade Runner 2049 and World War Z
Missy Comley Beattie
Bitch, Get Out!!
Andre Vltchek
The Greatest Indonesian Painter and “Praying to the Pig”
Ralph Nader
Why is Nobelist Economist Richard Thaler so Jovial?
Ricardo Vaz
Venezuela Regional Elections: Chavismo in Triumph, Opposition in Disarray and Media in Denial
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
NAFTA Talks Falter, Time To Increase Pressure
GD Dess
Why We Shouldn’t Let Hillary Haunt Us … And Why Having a Vision Matters
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail