Tag Archives: fish

Genetically modified salmon receives FDA approval

The FDA has approved a fish genetically engineered to develop more rapidly than non-genetically engineered salmon, named the AquAdvantage Salmon. It’s the first GMO animal approved for human consumption in the United States.

The AquAdvantage salmon develops twice as fast as non-GM Atlantic salmon, due to the over-expression of a growth hormone. AquaBounty Technologies, the organization that made the fish, has been attempting to get it through approval for just about 20 years. The fish is an Atlantic salmon which has been genetically modified to incorporate genes from various fish, including a growth hormone gene and the promoter of an antifreeze gene.

Genetically modified salmon is now FDA approved. Graphic by Katie Gibson
Genetically modified salmon is now FDA approved. Graphic by Katie Gibson

In a statement released November 20th by AquaBounty’s CEO Ron Stotish, he said, “AquAdvantage Salmon is a game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats. Using land-based aquaculture systems, this rich source of protein and other nutrients can be farmed close to major consumer markets in a more sustainable manner.”

The FDA has only agreed to AquaBounty’s present breeding and growing setup, where fish are bred in Canada on Prince Edward Island, and sterilized eggs are shipped to the highlands of Panama to be developed to market size. On the off-chance that the product takes off and the organization needs to add additional facilities, each of these would need to get approved separately. “It’s not clear that it would be a simple process by any means,” Smith says.

With the current administrative fight behind it, AquaBounty still has to win over grocery stores and customers careful about GM products. “It’s difficult to disentangle consumer’s attitudes from their understanding of the technology,” Smith says, “there are a lot of politics of [GM organisms] that might inform people’s decision-making that might not have anything to do whatsoever with the technology.”

What’s more, in light of the fact that the new product can be labeled as farmed Atlantic salmon without mention of the genetic modification, shoppers may not know they’re eating it unless sellers explicitly decline to purchase it, Smith says. Target, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods have stated that they weren’t going to sell, or buy, the fish.

The threat of the freshman fifteen

There’s one thing we all worry about when coming to college for the first time, and that’s the dreaded freshman fifteen. But what really changes after freshman year? Certainly not our eating habits– we’re stuck with pretty much the same old places to eat, on campus and off. So that leads me to believe that not only is the Freshman Fifteen a thing, but so is the Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Fifteen, despite those being not near as fun to say.

Many of us know that the weight gain is coming, and we want to avoid it, but we’re stuck in a rut when it comes to figuring out a routine to keep the pounds away. Whether it be eating less or exercising more, we set goals that rarely become the reality unless you have absurd amounts of self-discipline and restraint.

Ever since I moved into Radford, I’ve been trying my best to keep a healthy diet, even though this often meant only one of two meals. A salad from Wild Greens or sushi from Hissho. Always more of a protein girl, I mostly traded the salads for a crunchy roll.

The other day, after weeks of sushi lunches and dinners, a good friend of mine posed a question. He said, “is sushi actually healthy for you? I feel like since it’s mostly rice, it’s not very good.” The more I thought about it, the more I figured he must be right. So naturally, as soon as I got home I looked up the answer.

As it so turns out, there are many different answers to the question, “is sushi good for you?” because there are many different elements that go into it. Fish is incredibly healthy, as it’s rich in omega-3’s, as well as other acids, and has plenty of different kinds of vitamins. Rice can help with energy and blood sugar levels as well as slowing down the aging process. Put them together and you get a healthy dish, right? Especially if you’re looking for a low-calorie meal. Seven pieces of salmon nigiri (sticky rice with a piece of raw salmon filet on top) is equivalent to about 478 calories, about ¼ of your average daily intake.

It’s when you start adding more ingredients, however, like the fried bits of crunchy rolls or the incessant amounts of soy sauce that you run into a problem.

While both can be delicious and even fairly good in moderation, when you continue to pour them on, they become quite unhealthy and even cancel out the benefits of the salmon and rice.

In the end, the lesson always comes down to: know what’s being put in your food. If you don’t trust it, don’t eat it. Find something else that you know is a healthy alternative. Or, if all else fails, you can always head to the gym and work your butt off.

Grocery aisle ethics: Seafood

It can be difficult to balance your health and your budget while shopping in the grocery aisle. When choosing which products to consume, particularly things like fish which can easily be more harmful than, say, a can of sweet corn or a box of crackers, you might be a little quick to give up your pursuit of the best choice and settle with the cheapest option. Continue reading Grocery aisle ethics: Seafood