Let Them Eat Frankenfish!

After 15 years, the FDA is about to let genetically modified fish enter the food supply. It's about time.

We humans developed a bad habit of killing too many fish. But it's their own fault. Aside from being delicious, they're lazy. Atlantic salmon, for instance—one of the tastiest, fattiest fish—attain full size only after years of maturation. Did I mention they're delicious?

But humans are eating too many of them. And while dedicated enviros go vegetarian, most of us just want to order another slab of succulent, heart-healthy omega-3s without thinking too much. Enter modern science. In the early 1990s, a merry band of geneticists inserted a gene from fast-growing Chinook salmon into slow-growing Atlantic salmon (along with a gene from another fish famed for cold-water tolerance). The result: so-called "super salmon," which grow to full size in nearly half the time. The altered species entered the federal approval process in 1995, and have been swimming upstream ever since.

On Monday, a panel of FDA advisers began two days of hearings on whether to allow the first genetically modified (GM) animal into the human food supply. And so far, they are skeptical. Such unnatural creatures have existed since the 1970s, but haven't become part of the common cuisine—and despite the protests of natural foodies everywhere, this needs to change.

Yes, messing around with DNA is serious business, and the registered trademark symbol at the end of "AquAdvantage® Salmon" is a little creepy. The equally unpleasant word "Frankenfish" has been floating around the blogosphere atop scare stories about the future of food. And there is serious (and legitimate) concern that modified fish will sneak out of their aquaculture pens and join Atlantic salmon for wild aquatic sex parties, crossbreeding with—and potentially out-competing—their genetically pure peers. The specter of piscine promiscuity understandably makes people nervous.

But they needn't worry. The FDA briefing packet is clear that years of study have found no reason to keep tweaked seafood off the market. Salmon 2.0 will be grown in isolation on land, far away from Salmon Classic, and—even if one or two make a break for it—it's unclear how serious the effects of minor cross-contamination would be. We've grown genetically modified crops in America, such as corn and soy, since the early 1990s—exercising similar caution with the locations of fields—without any serious damage to genetic diversity or incidents of runaway genes. As an extra layer of insurance, the salmon eggs will grow into sterile females only, making freelance reproduction extremely unlikely.

Concerns about risks to human health are less well-founded. The remote chance of new allergens—a fear thoroughly investigated by the FDA—is offset by the known health benefits of eating more salmon. Government experts have essentially concluded that if it looks and acts like Atlantic salmon, contains "the expected amounts of nutritionally important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at the appropriate ratio," and is "as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon," it might as well be labeled as such.

Instead of endangering the ecosystem, salmon 2.0 will protect it. Irresponsible human behavior caused overfishing and shortages, but clever human invention has discovered a way to fix these problems. As we learned to do in kindergarten, we're cleaning up our own mess. Don't worry, just dig in and feel good about your healthy dinner and your environmental impact. (For extra flavor, try serving with a homemade salsa—genetically-modified tomatoes, naturally.)

Katherine Mangu-Ward is a senior editor at Reason. This article originally appeared at Esquire.com on September 21, 2010.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Old Mexican||

    Irresponsible human behavior caused overfishing and shortages, but clever human invention has discovered a way to fix these problems.

    Yes, they are called "fish farms", but enviros hate them as much as government hates uppity entrepreneurs. Instead, seems like government loves Too Big To Fail Super Duper businesses that want to release copyrighted fish to the market... there's nothing that can go wrong there, is there?

  • Mike the Grouch||

    Environmentalists are right to oppose uncompensated externalities that arise from some forms of aquaculture. If fish farms negatively impact shared water resources or wild animal populations then there is a problem. On the other hand, "copyrighted" fish might actually decrease the external impact of a fish farm.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Mike the Grouch,

    Environmentalists are right to oppose uncompensated externalities that arise from some forms of aquaculture.

    You're begging the question, Mike. Uncompensated towards whom?

  • ||

    What about the uncompensated externalities that arise from the environmental movement like millions dying from malaria.

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    Or starvation?

  • Environmentalist||

    Don't worry, I have it on good authority that almost none of them are white.

  • A Pervert||

    All of nature is a mutation. Frankenfish is still JUST A FISH. Just because the mutation was introduced by human activity doesn't make it especially dangerous or uncontrollable. It is not going to sprout legs, grow to 300 feet high and attack Tokyo.

    If Frankenfish fucks a regular fish, then it creates a hybrid of the two and whichever traits are dominant will be passed on just like they have been since the dawn of life on Earth.

    If there was no such thing as a shark, would you oppose humans who attempted to create such a creature? Do you really think nature is that feeble? If a new species emerges who cares.

    Idiot environmentalists are always complaining about the lack of bio-diversity on the planet. Well guess what, we just made the biosphere more diverse with the introduction of the Frankenfish, and i am sure that it will be just as tasty as the other fish.

  • El Duderino||

    Well said pervert! Now just make sure to change your handle the next time you decide to jump from posting on the article about French Nudists to anything else.

  • BaadLenny||

    Wow, apparently you can't comprehend the extreme amount of time it takes genetic changes of this magnitude to take place and for ecosystems to form and balance out.

  • Meiczyslaw||

    Actually, there are beginning to be farming systems that meet with environmentalist approval: for example, Coho Salmon farmed in inland tank systems.

    My gripe with the GMO fish is that farmed fish tend to out-compete their natural brethren in the wild. (They regularly escape open pens.) This is a bad thing because the GMO fish are not genetically diverse, meaning that such a population would be less resilient to outside pressures.

    Whether I support the frankenfish depends on how much I believe whether they're truly sterile as their proponents claim, or whether they'll be raised in a tank system.

  • ||

    tend to out-compete their natural brethren...

    less resilient to outside pressures.

    ???

  • ||

    I had to fish in those god damn things when I was a kid. You sat for an hour in a pond that looked like it was poured from a Brita water filter trying to feed trout corn kernels. You could see and probably catch them with your hands, but you couldn't touch the fucking water.

  • M. L. King||

    "....uppity entrepreneurs."
    That's racist.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    "humans are eating too many of them"

    Correction: People are eating the right amount of salmon. Even if it goes extinct. We'll just eat something else, or find a solution like altering their genes.

  • Monk||

    When can I have mini-elephants for dinner?

  • Barely Suppressed Rage||

    Meh - tastes like chicken.

  • A Pervert||

    I want to paint them pink and let them loose in bars.

  • Max||

    What the fuck is the point of this post? We know the FDA is evil, but is this a particulalry interesting example of its mafeance? Is poor Katherine short of ideas?

  • ||

    Retard Troll is retarded.

  • The Gobbler||

    "What the fuck is the point of this post?"

    Is Max becoming preemptively self-aware?

  • ||

    The point is to make people aware of the GM fish, and alert them to the upcoming debate over its approval, so they can, you know, exercise their political influence in timely way.

    It's one of Mangu-Ward's best recent articles: short, to the point, factual, and relatively free of silly tired flame-war flashpoints.

    Perhaps you were genetically modified before birth. A few genes related to common sense and intelligence removed, to make room for additional genes related to running your mouth. Designed, perhaps, by anti-GM people to illustrate the dangers of the practise.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Max,

    The point was that government knows better (as indicated by her comment:Government experts have essentially concluded[...],) but your lack of reading skills made you miss it.

  • Chris||

    Fish, Marine, and Ecosystem scientists do understand the risks better than a bunch of message board posters. Do you call a fish biologist to fix your faulty pipes? Do you call a plumber to advise you on your genetically altered fish?

    I'm all for most Libertarian ideas and tendencies, but when play the silly game of heaping scorn on "the experts", when in fact, there ARE experts on some things in this world (did you build your own computer from raw materials?), it gets difficult to stay on board.

  • ||

    The problem, I would think, is not with the testimony of the experts here, but with the motives behind the FDA. For some reason, I find it interesting that the FDA gets the final say (and not the EPA) on whether the fish gets released into the wild. Just something about a huge, regulatory bureaucracy that lacks the "We care about fish and the environment" aura.

  • El Duderino||

    I wanted to know about this issue and now I know that much more about it. I don't understand why you are confused about the article.

  • Virginia||

    As an extra layer of insurance, the salmon eggs will grow into sterile females only, making freelance reproduction extremely unlikely

    But Jeff Goldblum said that life always finds a way in that dinosaur amusement park movie where he doesn't get eaten.

  • The Gobbler||

    I loved him in Deep Cover.

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104073/

  • Jorj X. McKie||

  • ||

    Any movie where Samuel Jackson's character gets shredded to pieces is worth watching.

  • ||

    The altered species entered the federal approval process in 1995, and have been swimming upstream ever since.

    Fuck, that's a long time.

    Every farm animal in America, cows, horses, chickens, pigs, turkeys, sheep, et al and every farm grown fruit, grain or vegetable is a product of genetic engineering. It's called artificial selection and Darwin explained it more than a century ago.

    Every single one. They aren't killing us off, are they? They aren't ravaging the environment, are they?

  • ||

    They aren't ravaging the environment, are they?

    You'd change your tune if you'd just sniff a cow fart every once in a while.

  • ||

    Sage,
    I spent summers on my Uncles farm in the 50's.
    The hog pen was right outside the bedroom window. I said it stunk. He said it smelled like money.
    Years later I worked as a municipal wastewater treatment plant. The position was funded by a CETA grant. That smelled like a job when I needed one.
    Bernieyeball
    Sees All,
    Knows All,
    Doesn't Think Much of Any of It.
    'cept maybe a GM BLT!

  • ||

    Correction: AT a ...WW treatment plant, not "as a ..."
    There needs to be a better way to correct typos on these posts.

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    Aw, I thought you meant you had a job eating Taco Bell all day.

  • El Duderino||

    Jesus Christ, in 1995 I entered college. Pulp Fiction had just been released on VHS and Alanis Morrisette was at the top of the charts.

    Shit in 1995, I dont think Monica Lewinsky was even a twinkle in Billy's humidor.

  • Chris||

    Use your liberty and take some science classes.

  • ||

    This is cool, but I'd just like to point out that every scientist altering fish DNA is a scientist NOT working on developing flying cars.

  • Dr. Frankensteen||

    Or intelligent people either

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    Or super-realistic Nipponese sex robots. I want mah Sexaroid!

  • El Duderino||

    And where the hell are the flying cars I was promised. Oh wait, some fucking lawyer sued some fucking small aircraft company and somehow managed to clusterfuck the world out of flying cars. I'm trying to be discrete here as I am referencing a forbidden topic.

  • ||

    The most compelling argument against genetically modified food comes from the encumbrances that attach to cross-pollenization of plants in neighboring fields. Because Monsanto et al claim patent protection on gene sequences (a horrible, horrible idea), neighbors who didn't plant those crops can be sued for using the GM plants, even if they never intended that to happen.

    It sounds like that's not a likely outcome with these fish, but it's still something to watch.

  • robc||

    If the courts would just claim the wind is an act of God and tough shit Monsanto, problem solved.

  • ||

    Rob McMillin: I assume you are recycling the anti-biotech legend of Percy Schmeiser, convicted seed thief?

  • ||

    I did not know those particulars of the case, Ron. Thanks for that. However, the man is a "thief" only to the extent he is "stealing" something. I have a very difficult time with the patenting of life forms, in the same way I have a problem with any other software patents.

  • Bill Gates||

    What dumb bastard would spend time and money developing something he could not sell at a profit???? You perhaps???

  • ||

    ""However, the man is a "thief" only to the extent he is "stealing" something.

    Thank you. This a quote I shall treasure for years.

  • Ron L||

    Rob McMillin|9.24.10 @ 2:44PM|#
    "...I have a very difficult time with the patenting of life forms, in the same way I have a problem with any other software patents.
    So if *YOU* don't think it's illegal, it's not illegal?
    Uh, when we you appointed dictator?

  • ||

    No, I just have a problem with patenting algorithms in general. Prior to Gottschalk v. Benson, software algorithms were unpatentable. They were after that. Since life is itself just so much data, the arguments against software patents also apply to patenting life forms.

  • ||

    That is to say, "intellectual property" isn't. It's only a state license, and in this case I would argue that the net good to society of granting life form patents is more than outweighed by the net negatives.

  • Ron L||

    You're welcome to your opinion; the law says Monsanto owns that patent and Schmeiser stole the seeds.

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    Right, and the law is always right. So I'm assuming you also have no problem with over-restrictive gun laws, drug laws, property confiscation laws, "resisting arrest" and "disturbing the peace" arrests by crooked cops, health care regulations, financial regulations, etc. Solid argument buddy. Really, really good stuff.

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    Damn it. That was in reply to Ron L. Stupid threaded comments. Totally killed my mojo.

  • Ron L||

    Strange, I didn't say anything about any of that. Really great strawman you have there.

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    You appealed to the authority of the law in an attempt to refute Rob's argument. The authority of the law is either universally applied or it's not, you don't get to pick and choose. So, either the authority of the law supports the enforcement of Monsanto's patents on Roundup Ready seed AND supports restrictions and/or regulations on guns/drugs/porn/prostitution/finance/healthcare/etc or it does none of the above. Hence, your argument, masterfully crafted as it was, is invalid unless you agree that the law’s authority is just as valid in these other instances as it is in the Monsanto patent issue.

    So, does the law have authority or not, or do you get to be the sole arbiter of its applicability? Perhaps we should be asking you “Uh, when we you appointed dictator?” (sic)

    And honestly, in an decidedly libertarian forum, there’s not a better argument you could have presented than “It’z teh Laws, mistuh!!”?

  • Ron L||

    arbiter elegantiarum|9.27.10 @ 1:26PM|#
    "You appealed to the authority of the law in an attempt to refute Rob's argument. The authority of the law is either universally applied or it's not, you don't get to pick and choose. So, either the authority of the law supports the enforcement of Monsanto's patents on Roundup Ready seed AND supports restrictions and/or regulations on guns/drugs/porn/prostitution/finance/healthcare/etc or it does none of the above."

    Are you serious? That's about the sloppiest excuse for an argument I have ever seen!
    Schmeiser gets busted for stealing seeds (and lying about it), McMillin admits he's ignorant of the facts, back-pedals, claiming philosophical disagreement with laws protecting a certain class of property, and now you conflate *that* with all your fave causes?
    Care to toss in the Palestinian problem, and oh, murder, just for the heck of it?

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    It's really not that difficult. You said, "You're welcome to your opinion; the law says Monsanto owns that patent and Schmeiser stole the seeds." That's what I was responding to.

    If you need a simpler example, then sure, let's go with murder. If the law said that I was allowed to kill douchebags and I killed you, would the fact that the law allowed it make it right? When your family demanded justice for what they thought was wrong, I could simply say, "You're welcome to your opinion; the law says I can kill douchebags, and Ron was a douchebag."

    The point is that legality is neither necessary nor sufficient in determining something's "rightness." Rob argues the propriety of intellectual property laws, and you respond with "it's the law" which is basically a grown-up version of "it's true cuz my daddy sez it iz."

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    You can have my seed when you pry it from my... um...

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    Ah, and on cue, Ron "The Shill" Bailey comes out in defense of Monsanto. You're nothing if not reliable.

  • Ron L||

    And, on cue, arbiter elegantiarum offers a bogus ad-hom. Don't know if you're reliable, but you ain't real schmart.
    Read the goddam link, bozo; Schmeiser claimed the seeds blew off a passing truck and somehow planted themselves in neat rows all the way across his acreage. He certainly had no gripe with GMO crops or any philosophical aversion to 'intellectual property'; he was and is a lying thief.
    What are you, some luddite anti-GMO woo?

  • arbiter elegantiarum||

    I have read the article, this time and last time Bailey posted it...and the time before that...and the time before that...you get the idea.

    Forgive me I see one cherry-picked example from a former stockholder as something less than definitive proof that cross-contamination and subsequent patent-law abuses are not an issue.

  • Ron L||

    arbiter elegantiarum|9.28.10 @ 9:09AM|#
    "Forgive me I see one cherry-picked example from a former stockholder as something less than definitive proof that cross-contamination and subsequent patent-law abuses are not an issue."

    As opposed to zero evidence of the alternative.

  • El Duderino||

    I dont care where the wind blows, and I dont care if frankenfish gets loose and impregnates every other regular fish in the sea.

    Sooner or later it will become impractical for these companies to pursue every case, kinda like trying to sue teenagers who downloaded copyrighted music off of Napster. How many kids got sued successfully, vs how many were never even looked at?

    They will eventually figure out that it is only worth going after the actual abusers and only the really big ones with deep pockets. Sooner or later, it will be the owners of frankenfish suing the owners of bride of frankenfish.

  • ||

    I got booted off Napster because of Lars's faggy lawsuit on behalf of Selloutica. Fuck him. Every band I buy a CD of, I download a song or two first. If they don't see this as a form of advertising, then the music industry is fucked.

  • El Duderino||

    But you moved onto Kazaa. . . until you got a virus.

    Point is, biogenetic copyrights will end up with some sort of fair use rule or better yet, it will just become so hard to police that only the worst offenders get shit on (and they probably should).

    I have no problem with giving my copies of music to "friends", but it is not as simple as just saying that some millionaire musician is the only person making an obscene living off this product, the money goes to people who sell guitars, microphones, recording equipment, audio technicians. . . there are literally thousands of people who benefit from an album besides the artist. They may not all benefit equally, but they benefit nontheless. Sharing is okay as long as someone paid the price and as long as that sharing is between people who are actually friends and not just server buddies.

    Look, I like the idea of free music as much as the next guy, but it is no more free than free health care.

  • ||

    Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating 'let me manufacture and acquire illegal copies of your copyrighted material'. My point primarily is that I've purchased records from artists I discovered via filesharing programs like Napster. In the case of Metallica, at that point, I must have had every album of theirs, including a couple doubles (scratched CD's). I don't think there was a malicious intent on screwing any band out of money until that lawsuit. A lot of people I know started downloading like crazy well after that lawsuit. I just think the recording industry ruined a golden opportunity to step in and make business deals first, but then I realize it wasn't about 'protecting copyrights' so much as it was about suing an already-established business into oblivion to make a point.

  • ||

    Oh and Kazaa sucked ass. Ended up explaining to Visa that I didn't just purchase 15 camcorders off Ebay from somewhere in Estonia. I stick to iMesh and pay a flat rate to download the content. That right there should have happened right off the bat, not a decade later.

  • Old Mexican||

    The remote chance of new allergens—a fear thoroughly investigated by the FDA—is offset by the known health benefits of eating more salmon. Government experts have essentially concluded that if it looks and acts like Atlantic salmon, contains "the expected amounts of nutritionally important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at the appropriate ratio," and is "as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon," it might as well be labeled as such.

    Phew!! I am sooooo relieved to know what government experts have concluded! I mean, government experts did so well as they concluded the recession was over and that stimulus would keep unemployment at no more than 8%.

    Right?

    (BY the way, I would not care much about this if not for the fact that government is involved so heavily in it, which makes my arachnid senses go haywire...)

  • boomshanka||

    "Salmon 2.0 will be grown in isolation on land"

    I assume then it will be farm-raised, which means high levels of PCB's and other toxins, making it less safe to eat than wild au naturale salmon.

  • steve||

    Bingo, the same problem w/ most farmed fish so it's not really an argument against frankensalmon, but is an argument in favor of wild fish in general. Also, I doubt farmed fish has nearly the same correct omega 3/6 ratio as wild counterparts.

  • ||

    correct. conventional farmed salmon don't get a diet high in krill. krill are in large part responsible for the rich pink color and superior fatty acid profile, not to mention taste, of "real" salmon. That's why the farm raised stuff has to be DIED pink (it's actually kind of offwhitebrownish).

    Farm raised tilapia has higher arachidinoic (sp?) acid than beef, and also an inferior fat profile

    i get a lot of salmon from my father-in-law, who fishes for it. the difference in taste between farm raised and wild salmon is night and day.

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    Wrong! Did you not read the "on land" part? These are GM Frankenfish! They have sexy legs and STDs and they walk as they graze on the bodies of their pollen-encrusted victims!

  • ||

    The writing in this piece is excellent.

  • ||

    "without any [...] incidents of runaway genes"

    That's a pretty big blanket you're throwing there. What about the farmers that were sued for growing crops they didn't buy from a GM seed company but that blew into their field from a neighboring field? I'm not against the frankenfish, but you certainly hurt your thesis by exaggerating as much as the enviros do.

  • Ron L||

    Jeff,
    "What about the farmers that were sued for growing crops they didn't buy from a GM seed company but that blew into their field from a neighboring field?"
    There aren't any; they lied.

  • Dan||

    I think the basic argument being made here is sound enough. That said, there was a telling line near the beginning that gave me pause, and I think it is the real problem we are facing as a culture: "And while dedicated enviros go vegetarian, most of us just want to order another slab of succulent, heart-healthy omega-3s without thinking too much." I am certainly no vegetarian, and I no doubt eat GM foods all the time. That said, we probably spend enough time not thinking about things as it is, so encouraging that practice strikes me as unwise. Simply finding shortcuts so that we don't have to make hard choices about our consumption strikes me as problematic. Life is not always supposed to be easy, as it is through struggle that we actually learn things. By making everything easier and less thought-provoking (from food to education), are we creating a society too reliant on technology? I worry that we're becoming a "there's an app for that" country, as opposed to one that actually learns from its mistakes and starts to consume more modestly. Again, I have no beef with frankenfish (I'm sure he tastes great), but always using technology to solve what are essentially philosophical problems makes me uneasy.

  • ||

    Dan writes: "Life is not always supposed to be easy, as it is through struggle that we actually learn things. By making everything easier and less thought-provoking (from food to education), are we creating a society too reliant on technology?"
    I have been hearing this anti technology crap for years.
    OK Dan tell us all how far back you want to turn the clock!
    Or do you want to pick and choose technologies that fit your particular political bent and have everyone live life "according to Dan?" Or Pol Pot?

  • Dan||

    Wow, nice Pol Pot reference. That stung, particularly since you didn't actually address anything I argued. You're really a credit to your side of the debate. Actually, this has nothing to do with my politics (which are probably really similar to most people who read Reason), and everything to do with thinking critically. I never said I wanted to turn back the clock on anything, but I reject the idea that simply not thinking deeply on things should be encouraged. Technology is great, and I use it all the time, but it isn't and shouldn't be the solution to every problem we create for ourselves. As I said, I have no problem with GM foods. I do have a problem with people who resort to demonizing those who view the world differently than they do. Sounds a lot like the m.o. a certain Cambodian dictator whose name escapes me...

  • ||

    Dan,
    Please provide us with the correct amount time we should spend thinking "about things." How do you know how "deep" people think and how do you measure depth of thought?
    Seems to me that technology has given humans more time to contemplate their navels if that is what they want to do.
    What apps do you approve of?
    What are your rules for consuming more modestly?
    More importantly how do you want to enforce your idea of modest consumption so we all dance to your tune?

  • Dan||

    If you look at what I was objecting to in the initial article, it was the idea that the author is seemingly praising consuming in the face of shortages "without thinking too much" (her words). I am far from an environmentalist (I eat lots of beef and put 100,000 miles on a car in 4 years), and you can go ahead and cross a salmon with a monkey, for all I care. The point I was trying to make is that we should always be critical of the ways in which we use technology, a point which Oppenheimer makes quite emphatically in his speech "The Scientist in Society." I am not looking to enforce anything, as I believe that people should be free to make their own choices. I am simply suggesting that rather than positing technology as a universal panacea and encouraging unthinking consumption (again, her concept, not mine), perhaps encouraging a more balanced approach wherein technology and other forms of knowledge (like the ancient agricultural concept of conservation) work in tandem would be wise. With that, Bernieyeball, I invite you to enjoy your salmon.

  • ||

    There isn't anything you can do to salmon to make me like it. And I haven't eaten tuna since I found out dolphins were needlessly killed to harvest Charlie and company 40 years ago.
    I'd say humans have been thinking about using technology to abet food production since we invented agriculture. For the most part I'd say it's been a good idea.
    According to the Association of Illinois Soil and Water Conservation Districts there are about 3000 Conservation Districts in the United States. Almost one per county.
    I suspect they support a modern concept of conservation, one that uses technology!
    So I guess you're right. No balance there.
    By the way how ancient a concept of conservation do you want to use? Before the Common Era or Common Era?

  • Ron L||

    Dan|9.25.10 @ 9:35PM|#

    "...I am simply suggesting that rather than positing technology as a universal panacea and encouraging unthinking consumption (again, her concept, not mine), perhaps encouraging a more balanced approach wherein technology and other forms of knowledge (like the ancient agricultural concept of conservation)"

    Well, really, I don't hate to be the one to point out to you that there was no "ancient concept of conservation".
    That's a modern earth-momma religious fantasy. "Ancients" slashed and burned as they could.

  • ||

    "Again, I have no beef with frankenfish (I'm sure he tastes great), but always using technology to solve what are essentially philosophical problems makes me uneasy."
    All philosophical problems are by definition unsolvable!

  • steve||

    Way to gloss over the sneaking out of the pen scenario and continuing to frame the issue as pertaining to consumption only. Some of us wouldn't give a crap about eating it, just don't want it to be the next asian carp.

  • Vaccine||

    I wasn't aware that the asian carp was genetically modified. Makes sense, though, how else could the eyes be so slanty?

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    Just think of the horrors of rivers and lakes clogged with delicious, nutritious fish. A nightmare scenario!

  • El Duderino||

    Who cares if it becomes the next Asian Carp, just eat more Asian Carp dumbass.

  • ||

    What is going on here? Why are so many libertarian writers doting on our corrupt FDA with this news? The FDA prohibits supplement businesses from mentioning health benefits on their products, yet permits biotech companies to conceal the sources of their products. *Independent* studies have shown that GMOs cause all sorts of illnesses. Have the libertarians been paid off by Big Ag and Big Pharma? This is ridiculous!

  • Ron L||

    Independent Thinker|9.24.10 @ 3:45PM|#
    "...*Independent* studies have shown that GMOs cause all sorts of illnesses...."
    But the studies have to be conducted by people in tin-foil hats, right?
    Uh, got any cites for those 'studies'? I could use a laugh.

  • ||

    I prefer independent organizations and universities conduct the research, rather than the FDA and federally subsidized biotech / pharma companies. But that's just me. I want the government out of my life, my food, my health care, and my wallet.

    http://foodfreedom.wordpress.c.....an-damage/

    If you care to learn more, I encourage you to research them yourself. Have a great weekend.

  • Ron L||

    Hmm, didn't take much digging in that site to find:
    "Surgery can cause fibromyalgia; chiropractic care can effectively treat it, says Dr. Whitcomb."
    Along with claims that "organic foods", whatever they are, can do the same
    Any cites that aren't, well, quite s ridiculous?
    Have a nice weekend.

  • Ron L||

    Regarding the study itself ( http://www.biolsci.org/v05p0706.htm#headingA11 ), I certainly don't know enough about biology to make a critique, but I'll make two comments
    1) I'll see if there are any repetitions.
    2) I see that your concern about 'government funding' applies only to US government funding. From the cite:
    "The support of the French Ministry of Research is gratefully acknowledged."

    Ooops; google is your friend:
    "De Vendomois et al., (2009) elected to ignore the aforementioned expert scientific reviews by global authorities and regulatory agencies and again have used non-standard and inappropriate methods to reanalyze toxicology studies with MON 863, MON 810 and NK603. This is despite more than 10 years of safe cultivation and consumption of crops developed through modern biotechnology that have also completed extensive safety assessment and review by worldwide regulatory agencies, in each case reaching a conclusion that these products are safe."
    http://www.notesoft.com/Discus.....amp;t=2581
    Now, any cites?
    Have a nice weekend.

  • Sam Grove||

    When can we have ham bushes and blanket trees?

  • Jorj X. McKie||

    I'm waiting for Cat-Woman chimeras.

    She Sassy (like a cat)
    She Frisky (Uh Huh!)
    She-Cats! (in pets & garden)
    Taste the Inexplicable!

  • Frau Blucher||

    "It's about time." I agree!

  • Patrick||

    If the frankenfish were lawyers, Reason wouldn't allow comments on this article.

  • El Duderino||

    Actually, the only difference between a lawyer and a frankenfish is that people can actually eat the frankenfish after killing it.

    ***LEGAL DISCLAIMER***
    I am in no way condoning the murder of lawyers. I am simply exercising my right to speak freely.

  • F. Lee Bailey||

    You're gutless! Actually there is one other difference, Frankenfisch are intelligent.

  • El Duderino||

    I am also lazy, I am sure there are plenty of good things about frankenfish that cannot be said about lawyers.

    For one thing, Frankenfish are not lawyers.

  • ||

    I'm struggling to understand how letting a few of the critters loose would be a problem. The narrow DNA strain argument doesn't fly..err.. swim.

  • El Duderino||

    Your straining because there is no good reason to fear it getting out into the wild.

    A frankenfish + a regular fish = a hybrid of the two. This is about the same as introducing a genetic mutation into a population. Unfortunately, when envrionmentalists hear the word "mutation" they think of Godzilla because, well it is convenient to think and talk about the thing they oppose for no good reason as some sort of monster.

    And if environmentalists knew any better, they would not call it frankenfish since Frankenstein was the name of the doctor, not the monster. Sorry to go all Highschool literature class here, but really are they saying that the fish is scientifically minded with an aptitude for anatomy and human reanimation?

  • newshutz||

    yes, exactly.

    Here in the corn belt we are having a great deal of trouble with all the flesh golems that wander out of the cornfields.

    But that is not as bad as what's happening up in the winter wheat fields, at least flesh golems are slow, or even worse the slimy things that slither out of the canola fields in Canada.

    We are a bit worried about what the soybeans are up to. They have been pretty quiet so far.

  • El Duderino||

    LOL

    And ya know what, I bet if we rounded up all the flesh golems, we could sell their meat in the deli.

    Fuck it, I say, lets create a godzilla and then we can feast on it until we end world hunger.

  • Carl||

    for those farmers who grow fruits and veggies free of artifical fertilizers and insecticides, etc cant call his/her food Organic unless they have gone through the proper FDA and USDA channels and paid the right dollars for all those official papers to be able to label food grown in the most simplest unadulterated ways possible ORGANIC but please tell me why the hell when food is doused with every chemical possible law does not require it to be labeled on the item as well??????

  • Colonel_Angus||

    There should be no laws regarding labeling whatsoever. The FDA and USDA definition of organic is completely arbitrary as all food is carbon based and therefore organic. If they mean fertilizer or insecticide free then they should say that instead on their labels.

    The consumer market is perfectly capable of demanding producers to label anything and everything.

  • Carl||

    we can demad but they wont respond therefore im going to have to forgo purchasing salmon anymore. ill eat the trout i catch up in the mountains.

    i hope gmo salmon go the way like pepsi clear

  • Ron L||

    I suppose the studies done which show the various 'chemicals' cause no harm don't mean much to you.

  • Carl||

    get an MSDS for the chems used in agriculture and you will see what harm they can do to you.

  • Ron L||

    No, *you* get 'em and tell me how "horrible" they are.
    Hint for brain-deads: They're really horrible if you eat several tons of them per day. Not so much in the normal dose and any educated human knows the dose makes the poison. Are you educated?
    You got conflicting data, please show it. I'm guessing you're a brain-dead woo.

  • ||

    Doesn't anyone wonder what they did with the GMF for the past 40 years?

  • El Duderino||

    They trained it to kill and strapped advanced laser weapons to its head. It is now hunting UBL with little success. Apparently, UBL dont surf.

  • El Duderino||

    I wonder how many red flags were sent up at the pentagon from my post which contained UBL, Kill, and advanced laser weapons.

    And why is there a black van parked outside?

  • Xenocles||

    Where's Organic Girl? This seems like her kind of thread, and I know I'd love to hear ridicule her opinion.

  • El Duderino||

    She is still icing her ass from the beating she took on the Biotech Sugar Beats article.

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  • ||

    Anyone that thinks things like this are OK needs to look at the Asian carp invasion at the doorstep of the Great Lakes. The entire Great Lakes system will be lost forever from people trying to be "smarter" than nature. It's disgusting to see a senior editor for Reason Mag put such trust in the FDA. She seems completely oblivious to companies like Monsanto and that GMO corn is killing the bees in the USA.

  • ||

    Tim,
    As was noted earlier in this thread Asian Carp are not a GMO. What are you talking about?
    What are your citations for GMO corn killing bees?
    BZZZZ!?!

  • Ron L||

    Tim|9.27.10 @ 1:58PM|#: "...The entire Great Lakes system will be lost forever from people trying to be "smarter" than nature...."

    No kidding?! That's *horrible*! Are the carp going to steal the Great Lakes and spirit them off to (horrors!) Asia?!
    Oh, and what is "natures" IQ? I just want to find out who's "smarter" than that....
    Uh, would you be some religious earth-momma woo who thinks there was some golden age when the world was perfect?

  • ||

    Libertarians are supposedly for government Out of our lives - yet here you are trusting their stamp of approval. Hypocrits. Frankenfish is just another example of the worst of the pollution that exists in this world - biological. Species being where they should not be and messing up the environment. Invasive species like the carp are a good example. Also, Frankenfish should be labled as a GMO product. Most people just won't buy it then. Whole FOods and Trader Joe's won't sell it, you won't find it a farmers markets. Those that want to be a ginny pig should at least be informed of that. I am not going to check out this site ever again. YOu are all pathetic when it comes to environmental issues including awareness of our food supply. Wishing you happy shopping in your processed food isles, and wishing you luck when Obama care has to treat your cancer. Don't bother commenting back to me because I've moved on to the Huffington site. Reason has been around a long time but I have graduated from the immature philosophy. I have not subscribed in years. DONE.

  • ||

    Well Boo Hoo Hoo! Pleezzee don't leave!
    Pleeze tell us where we can get non processed cheese for instance.
    All cheese is processed. It is milk when it comes out of a cow and it is processed into cheese. All yer "natural" grain bread is made out of wheat that has been processed into flour.
    I have been to the local food co-op and see all kinds of food in cans, jars, boxes etc. that had to be processed or it could not be shipped from far away places.
    Chemical free is another claim I hear all the time from the natural food crowd.
    This is blatant nonsense. It is also false advertising if you ask me.
    Talk about not being aware of our food supply!
    As far as cancer is concerned, wasn't Paul McCartney's wife a strict vegan who died of cancer?

  • Ron L||

    formerlibertarian|9.28.10 @ 12:03PM|#
    "Libertarians are supposedly for government Out of our lives - yet here you are trusting their stamp of approval. Hypocrits."
    Well said, asshole.
    Not really; you're both an asshole and an ignoramus.
    No one here is asking for the government to approve it; just damn get out of the way and let the fish be raised. But as an asshole and an ignoramus, that point was lost on you, wasn't it?
    Oh, and: "Species being where they should not be and messing up the environment."
    As if an ignorant asshole like you could define what 'the environment' should be.
    Go lick lichen off rocks. And please stay 'lost'; you improve the over-all intelligence of the site when you stay away.

  • ||

    Do you somehow thing there was a pristine perfect earth in the past? Species have always migrated. If this occurred naturally, what would you say then?

    I personally welcome detailed labeling of products, more knowledge means better decisions.

    Also, your trolling sucks. Sadly, I don't think HuffPo will help you with that, they'll just give you handjobs.

  • ||

    For Tim if he is still around.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/science/07bees.html

  • ||

    Is it too late to get a patent on "Jokerfish"?? Or still too early?

  • ||

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