Goats with spider genes. Pigs with worm genes. Genetically-engineered animals cross the lines of phyla and even kingdom with plants containing animal genes and vice versa. It’s no longer a question of can we do that. It’s crossed over the line of should we do that. And if we do, should we sell it for food? Without a label?
If it had a label, would you eat it? If it’s considered safe, then, why wouldn’t they label it? We have a right to know what kind of meat(s) we are eating, after all.
The answer for most of is no, we won’t eat it, which is why there likely won’t be a label required, according to the new FDA plan, unless the game of gene mix-n-match alters the nutritional content of the food. The FDA has a similar no label approach for cloned meats that are designated for human consumption.
I’m not exactly a card-carrying member of an organized religion, but there seems to be something fundamentally wrong about the whole thing. It just ain’t natural. Especially when it’s sitting on my plate next to the mashed potatoes.
Well, have no fear. The FDA is going to check it out for you on a case-by-case basis as well as oversee the tracking of the animals to prevent interbreeding with non-GE animals.
Never mind that this is the same understaffed agency that can only manage to inspect less than one percent of imported foods. Of that one percent a significant amount of that food is found to be poisonous or even containing carcinogens. Yet, the agency has not increased inspections.
Let’s take a moment and do our own case-by-case evaluation. One of the genetically-engineered animal types is a type of pig who has genes of a roundworm. Apparently, this unnatural mutation yields meat that is higher in Omega-3 fatty acids. However, pork and even bacon and other meats used to be considerably higher in these fatty acids — when it was raised on a natural diet.
So, what’s easier? Feed pigs what pigs should eat and raise them sustainably. Or, throw out all the biodiversity and richness of breeds, mutate a pig that has roundworm genes, then raise a whole new pig from this artificial and limited gene pool — which is very expensive to create — just to get the similar desired end result of healthier meat. Hmmm. Really doesn’t make much sense when you put it like that, does it?
Or how about the intention of mutating a cow that is immune to madcow disease? Madcow disease originated from feeding these herbivores meat from their own species, a human error. Again, what’s easier? Feed the cows grass and raise them sustainably, or eliminate all the natural variation (what hasn’t already been limited by selective breeding), create a cow-other species mix in a test tube… clone that … you get the point.
Seems like we are taking a rather long and bizarre detour to an unknown destination, when, well, we were already just where we needed to be before industrial farming methods began treating animals like manufactured goods and feeding them unnatural things. Maybe we could just go back to doing things right instead of trying to fix a problem with something that could create a bigger problem?
Regardless of if you agree with genetically-engineered animals, the point is that you, as a consumer, have a right to know what you are eating. The no-label approach removes that right from you to choose and understand what your food is.
On a rhetorical note, If the “pig” no longer has pig DNA alone, can it still be labeled pork?
If you have an opinion you would like to share with the FDA about human consumption (with no label) of genetically-engineered animals, you have until November 18 to let them know. The link will take you right where you need to be view the FDA plan. Or, if you want to skip the read and just submit a comment, you can go straight here and reference Docket FDA-2008-D-0394. Click the box to indicate you are looking to submit a comment.