There are no biologically relevant differences. AquAdvantage salmon contained the expected amounts of nutritionally important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids at the appropriate ratio for a fish source.
People who are allergic to Atlantic salmon will likely be allergic to AquAdvantage Salmon because it is a finfish-- one of the eight most allergenic foods in the US-- not because it has been genetically engineered.
Moreover, increased salmon consumption leads to lowered risk of heart disease. Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in U.S. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000). A study by Lutter and Tucker (2003) revealed that the marketing of GM salmon will lower salmon prices and increase consumption of salmon, an exceptionally good source of omega-3 fatty acids linked to lower risk of heart disease. The resulting increase in omega-3 intake will prevent 600 to 2600 deaths per year in the U.S.
Lutter and Tucker (2003):
A 1% change in salmon consumption should increase total n-3 intake by 8.2%, assuming n-3 intake from other sources is unchanged.
Empirical research suggests that a 1% decline in the price of farm-bred salmon leads to a 1% increase in consumption.
In French fish markets, a 1% drop in international salmon prices lowers retail prices by 0.165%.
A 1% decrease in the cost of farmed salmon will lead to a .165% drop in the retail price of salmon.
GM salmon would reduce the risks of fatal CHD by about 0.2%. Since about 720,000 Americans aged 35 and older died from heart disease in 1999 (National Center for Health Statistics, 2000), a reduction of 0.2% amounts to about 1400 deaths per year.
Willingness to pay: $8.22 to reduce risk of heart disease by 1 in 1 million (Cameron, DeShazo, Johnson, 2009)
VSL calculation: 8.22/.000001=$8,220,000
GM salmon reduces fatalities by 1440
1440*8,220,000 = $11.84 billion (value of lives saved)
Problems Overlooked by FDA Regarding Approval of GM Salmon
Increase Cancer Risks
Currently, 1 in 6 men in the United States will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime and 1 in 8 women in the United States will be diagnosed with breast cancer during her lifetime. According to a recent study, men who were given IGF-1 as an aging supplement had almost twice the risk of cancer death . This finding is consistent with breast cancer in women.
Assumption: There are 23 million salmon consumers, of which 50% men, 50% women
Assuming a 1% cancer risk increase:
High risk of cancer (salmon consumption 8xs/month): 150 cases of prostate cancer
Moderate risk of cancer (consume salmon 1/month): 2,300 cases of prostate cancer
High risk of cancer (salmon consumption 8xs/month): 113 cases of breast cancer
Moderate risk of cancer (consume salmon 1/month): 1,910 cases of breast cancer
Total Cost of Salmon-related Cancer cases
Men: $166 mill (Assuming cost to treat prostate cancer is $42,750/person)
Women: $162 mill (Assuming cost to treat breast cancer is $60,000/person)
Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB)
ARB transfers from livestock to humans. Due to this transfer of bacteria, there is a $4 Billion annual increase in healthcare costs. Assuming each American eats 182.5 lbs of meat per year, there would an additional $22 million spent on healthcare costs per lb. Assuming ARB transfers from salmon at same rate and GM salmon becomes 50% of national supply in 5yrs, annual health care costs will increase by $22 million.
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Current System for Farming Salmon relies heavily on Ocean Penning
Land based egg production, spawning, and growth of salmon would reduce disease introduction, lower interactions with natural population, and create regional markets where carbon footprint could be lowered. GM salmon production may lower pressure on natural fish populations as well.
Egg Production Facilities (Prince Edward Island) and Growing Facilities (Panama) have 3 or 4 layers of physical containment
Transport of Eggs is in Secure Transport
In the event of escape or release into the wild,
Chance of Survival at Both Locations Limited by Temp., Salinity, Age
Shipments of Eggs for Growing Must be at least 95% Infertile
All Female Population
No natural Salmon Populations Near Either Facility
Minimal Risk of Reproduction
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When AquaBounty’s monopoly ends new companies will enter the market, and it will be increasingly difficult to regulate the containment of GM salmon. Competing firms will be incentivized to lower their marginal costs, creating an environment that is innovative and less risk averse.
“Action should be taken to correct a problem as soon as there is evidence that harm may occur, not after the harm has already occurred.”
Another concern are problems with Inland Aquaculture:
Cannot build facility near body of water, “cyclone belt” or in agriculture-suitable land (soil must be impervious). There are also issues of waste management and negative externalities to surrounding community from aquaculture byproduct.