Thursday, November 25, 2010

Update on Enviropig™

About a month ago, I told you about the genetically modified pig, misleadingly named Enviropig™, created at the University of Guelph and currently awaiting approval from Health Canada for human consumption. If you're unfamiliar with the story, read my post to get the facts and my opinion.

Sock Pig is certified GMO-free

The Globe and Mail finally caught wind of this story and wrote about it in a way that suggests, nay, implies the authors have no beef (pork?) with GMOs and neither should the readers. Focusing mainly on the potential for feeding our ever-increasing world population, we are told that "the market may soon need Enviropig™", ignoring the plethora of issues that plague our food system which must be addressed first before resorting to extreme measures such as genetic modification.

Something new I actually learned about through this article was the GM predecessor to Enviropig™: AquAdvantage™ salmon, owned by Massachusetts-based biotech firm AquaBounty but created by researchers at Memorial University in Newfoundland and pioneered on Prince Edward Island. The GM salmon offer a faster rate of growth over their non-GM counterparts, and a few months ago the FDA deemed them safe to eat, though they have not yet been fully approved for the US market.

GM salmon aren't immune to sea lice.

Once again, another opportunity is lost to educate readers on concerns with industrial aquaculture (especially the fact that faster-growing salmon won't solve any of the associated problems), and instead the authors distract us with the totally irrelevant issue of worrying that the Canadian origins of these GM animals may be forgotten when regulators in other countries approve of them first. I don't know about you, but I'd be happy to forget that my fellow Canadians are responsible for potential GM-related health and environmental effects in the long run.

To be honest, I'm glad the Enviropig™ issue is getting some media attention, I'm just disappointed with the Globe and Mail's coverage. Dissenting voices should get more than one paragraph at the end of a long article.

You can read the full story here.

Photo credit (sea lice on salmon): 7Barrym0re on Wikimedia Commons

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