Ah, Salmon. King of staple fish (fuck you, cod, I'm still pissed at you for existing). Picture a nice fish dinner, and there's a good chance you're thinking about salmon in some capacity. What you're probably not picturing, though, is that the process by which you attained your delicious fishstuff involved enough chemicals, hormones, and stimulants that it's a minor miracle it didn't result in the creation of a new Batman villain.
Pretty soon it should, however. While the technology has been around since 1989, for the very first time, it would appear that GMO salmon will soon be making its way onto shelves (full warning: that link goes to Fox News, so you might feel a sudden need to shower if you click it). GMO fish takes us into uncharted waters (ugh, even I'm mad at me for that one), and as such, no one really knows how consumers will react to the fish:
"The million-dollar question is, do consumers want to eat genetically altered fish?
"Public perception is not necessarily negative, but suspicious," says Jon Entine, the author and founder of the Genetic Literacy Project who wrote an investigative piece for Slate in 2012 arguing that the science behind AquAdvantage is sound, and that the extended FDA delays are political maneuvers.
He believes AquaBounty will eventually overcome the naysayers."
Personally, I think the vast majority of people really don't care where their food comes from as long as its cheap, plentiful, and tastes, while not necessarily good, at least not too horrible to stomach. Environmentalist groups and some supermarket chains may balk at GMO salmon and other lab-influenced delectables (Kroger and Safeway have already said they won't stock it), but without sensationalist headlines to grab the hearts and minds of middle America ("GMO CORN CAUSES WOMEN TO GIVE BIRTH TO HUMAN-PENGUIN HYBRIDS!"), GMO foods in general are most likely here to stay. We can have the debate about whether any foods should undergo any modification, but we have to also accept that this is the new reality, whether we like it or not. So as long as something really horrible doesn't happen in the early stages of the GMO fish process, people will go for it and we can expect to see it a lot more.
Either that, or this is the first act of a Michael Bay movie that's going to culminate in a 50-foot tall salmon knocking over buildings in downtown Baltimore. So on balance, it's win-win, really.
Image via AP.