Three months ago I wrote about genetically modified (GM) livestock. Two days ago I asked whether GM is a good way forward. Now here’s a new GM story. My fellow blogger narhvalur tells us of GM salmon.
Narhvalur calls this fish genetically engineered (GE) which is the same thing as GM. I wish we were all saying ‘GE’ not ‘GM’, because making these fish really is a kind of engineering. But I don’t want to get bogged down in names. Let’s consider the science.
Here’s my response to narhvalur’s post.
‘Thank you for blogging about this. It caught my eye because your title could imply that genetically engineered (GE) salmon had been shown to give consumers cancer and allergies. But no, it hasn’t. I’ve followed your links to read the Examiner article and the Food and Water Watch article. I see that no evidence of harm to consumers’ health has been reported.
‘As in the story a few months ago about GM (=GE) corn allegedly giving rats cancer, I see an absence of evidence here. Absence of evidence does not mean evidence of absence. So I’m still open to changing my mind. But for the time being, we’ve no evidence that GM foods are unsafe to eat.
‘What we have is speculation. Food and Water Watch says, ‘GE salmon exhibited 40 percent higher levels of a hormone called insulin-like growth factor 1, which has been shown to increase the risk of certain cancers.’ So do an experiment, say I. Feed the GE fish to lab animals and seek cancer. Without that kind of science, we still have no evidence that GM foods are unsafe to eat.
‘Having said that, I find that most of the other objections to this GM salmon are valid. The people at Food and Water Watch are pushing an anti-GM opinion, but I think they’re pushing it well. They’ve convinced me that this GM fish shouldn’t be put into net cages in the open sea.’
[Edit: I was mistaken to say that Prof Seralini’s rats got cancer. They got tumours but not cancer.]