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Two Latest GE-Related Health Threats

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Genetic Engineering page and our Millions Against Monsanto page.

 Fish - and salmon in particular - has always been an ideal source for the animal-based omega-3 fats EPA and DHA, but as levels of pollution have increased, fish in general have become less viable as a primary source of healthful fats.

 Soon, there will be even more to worry about as salmon is getting a genetic makeover.

 Not only will you need to beware of inferior and poorly labeled farmed salmon, you'll also have to contend with it possibly being genetically engineered (GE), since the US still does not require GE foods to be labeled as such.

 On December 21, 2012, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a giant step closer toward the final approval of the first genetically engineered (GE) food animal - a salmon designed to grow abnormally fast,1 and to an unnaturally large size.

 It now appears the first GE fish could reach your dinner plate within the next year or two, unless a sufficiently strong opposition is mounted.

 According to the FDA,2 the GE salmon is "as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon," but many have brought up significant flaws and limitations of the environmental assessment (EA) on which this conclusion is drawn.

 In recent years, mounting evidence shows that initial suspicions that GE foods might have unforeseen consequences were indeed correct - from alteration of soil composition, to contaminating waterways with antibiotic resistant bacteria linked to GE crops,3 to serious health consequences for animals and humans who consume GE products.

Latest GE-Related Health Threat: Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria from GE Experiments Found in Waterways...

 The first-ever study4, 5 to address GE crop-related pollution of waterways discovered that Chinese rivers are contaminated with antibiotic-resistant genes from genetic engineering experiments, which (again) may have unforeseen repercussions for human health. According to the authors:6

     "Antibiotic resistance poses a significant challenge to human health and its rate continues to rise globally. While antibiotic-selectable synthetic plasmid vectors have proved invaluable tools of genetic engineering, this class of artificial recombinant DNA sequences with high expression of antibiotic resistance genes presents an unknown risk beyond the laboratory setting.

     Contamination of environmental microbes with synthetic plasmid vector-sourced antibiotic resistance genes may represent a yet unrecognized source of antibiotic resistance.

     In this study, PCR and real-time quantitative PCR were used to investigate the synthetic plasmid vector-originated ampicillin resistance gene, β-lactam antibiotic (blá), in microbes from six Chinese rivers with significant human interactions.

     Various levels of blá were detected in all six rivers... The resistance spectrum of transformants from the Pearl and Haihe rivers, in particular, had expanded to the third- and fourth-generation of cephalosporin drugs, while that of other transformants mainly involved first- and second-generation cephalosporins.

     This study not only reveals environmental contamination of synthetic plasmid vector-sourced blá drug resistance genes in Chinese rivers, but also suggests that synthetic plasmid vectors may represent a source of antibiotic resistance in humans."




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