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Weekly Roundup: GE Salmon, Baby Carrots And Executive Apology

This week, engineered salmon is scrutinized by everyone except the FDA, carrot snack machines are a hit and the Iowa egg farmer's apologies fall to deaf ears.

This Week’s Top Stories:
Genetically Engineered Salmon | Baby Carrots | Executive Apology

Suspicions Loom Over Safety Of Genetically Engineered Salmon

Salmon

Photo: Gifford; Prentiss, Arthur M. (Flickr)

In spite of concerns, the FDA appears ready to approve genetically engineered AquAdvantage Salmon as safe for human consumption.

AquaBounty Technologies has recently announced the readiness of their genetically engineered (GE) salmon for the mass market, and the FDA seems poised to agree.

Due to a decade of research and genetic modification by AquaBounty, the GE fish known as AquaAdvantage salmon matures to adulthood more swiftly than its non-GE relatives. So far, the FDA says that it does not find potential negative health problems with eating the fish.

However, many organizations have raised concerns about the amount of genetic experience on the FDA’s panels, the lack of independent analysis, the unusually short public response period, the small sample size of tested animals and the potential allergenic quality of the fish.

“Why is the FDA accepting such sloppy science, flouting its own regulations, giving the public nearly no time to weigh in, and packing its committee full of biotech hacks who will not ask the tough questions necessary to ensure the AquAdvantage salmon is safe before it winds up . . . on our plates?” asks Jill Richardson.

Even if the FDA files a “Finding of No Significant Impact or an Environmental Impact Statement” about AquaAdvantage salmon within thirty days, AquaBounty says the first consumer crop will not be available for two years.

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Skeptics Denied: Carrot Vending Machine A Success With Ohio Teens

babycarrots

Photo: ebarrera (flickr)

Thanks to the Eat 'em Like Junk Food campaign, students at Mason High in Ohio have an all carrot vending machine.

Thanks to the Eat ‘em Like Junk Food campaign, students at Mason High in Ohio have an all carrot vending machine. Perhaps surprisingly, the carrot vending machine has enjoyed success amongst the students even against its sweet and salty snack competition. Branding, peer incentive and simply the availability of the carrots contribute to the machine’s popularity.

“The point is, reforming school food isn’t rocket science. If creative efforts are made to put healthy foods in schools and to get junk food out, kids’ diets will improve,” Tom Laskawy reports.

With the National School Lunch Program set to expire this month, the success of the carrot vending machine is just one example of ways schools can use inventive strategies to boost non-government subsidized sales and increase the amount of healthy food options for students. However, without a move to support national funding for school food, school food programs may disappear altogether.

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The Iowa Egg Executive’s Apology

egg

Photo: nickwheeleroz (flickr)

Jack DeCoster, owner of Wright County Egg, an Iowa egg farm that has caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak, apologized during a recent court hearing.

In an emotional and somewhat sensational court hearing, Jack DeCoster, owner of Wright County Egg, an Iowa egg farm that has caused a nationwide salmonella outbreak, apologized. “We were horrified to learn that our eggs may have made people sick,” said DeCoster, “We apologize to everyone who may have been sickened by eating our eggs.”

Regardless, the angry Senators, upset salmonella sickness victims, and protesting environmentalists who eventually were escorted from the court room did not appear sympathetic to DeCoster’s business’ growing pains.

DeCoster described the violations as complicated, and spread the blame between the weather and contamination in an ingredient they use in their chicken feed. Helena Bottemiller of Food Safety News points out that “the dozens of positive environmental tests, rodents, loose chickens, and open piles of manure the FDA found make it difficult to pinpoint the mode of contamination.”

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Julie Rooney

Julie Rooney is a vegetarian, musician, and artist who primarily works in video and new media. Currently she is the director of Low Road Gallery, a non-profit contemporary art gallery located in Greencastle, Indiana.

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