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Tuesday, 18 April, 2000, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Would you eat GM salmon?

If you could serve up a nice bit of salmon for your dinner at a fraction of its usual price, would the fact that it was genetically modified put you off?

US firm AF Protein is engineering giant GM fish, which can grow up to 10 times faster than normal. It could be on people's plates within a year and cut the cost of raising salmon and trout by half.

Environmentalists are concerned about the impact the fish could have on the world's wild salmon population. However the company insists they cannot interbreed with other fish because they are infertile, and are perfectly safe to consume. But would you eat it? HAVE YOUR SAY In a few years time, I'd not be surprised to hear that those who have cancer and consumed substantial quantities of this fish, suddenly saw their tumours grow "10 times faster than normal" or experience something comparably bad.
Stephen Kenney, USA

Whether we eat GM food or not is one matter; whether we absorb sufficient nutritive value from food is another matter altogether. Every time I have eaten GM foodstuffs, it has passed through me, very quickly, and whole, with seemingly little or no digestion!
Pearl Morrison, USA/UK



Will our scientists ever learn, if Nature doesn't win we all lose.

John B, UK
Artificial selection, the process whereby the next generation is produced by selecting ideal parent organisms, is fundamentally different from genetic modification. THE PARENTS ARE THE SAME SPECIES! Nature does not take nut genes and put them in a fish. If a mutation offers an advantage, Nature will allow it to thrive. If it doesn't, Nature swiftly terminates the aberration. Will our scientists ever learn, if Nature doesn't win we all lose. I hope they will realise their errors before entire species are destroyed by another scientific mistake.
John B, UK

If this trend for genetically modifying everything continues unabated, we'll end up GM-ing ourselves out of existence.
Paul R, UK

Provided adequate testing has been done, I would have no hesitancy in eating genetically modified salmon.
In terms of public policy, I think that whatever risk remain following testing are more than balanced by the benefits flowing from GM food. How many butterflies do the insecticides used in place of GM corn poison? In the broad sense, increasing yields, while reducing the use of insecticides and fertilisers can only be beneficial.
The key to realising these benefits is to control risks by putting in place a proper regime of testing, which I believe has been done.
Anon, Canada

I would not be interested in eating this salmon at all. These GMO products are getting approved and released into the market way to fast. It seems that our FDA no longer has the best interest of the people in mind if they believe that after one year of testing that this salmon would be safe for human consumption.
Aaron McKee, USA

To Elliot Entis: You say that there is no chance of the GM Salmon interbreeding in the event of introduction in the wild because the eggs are destroyed through some kind of shock treatment. What preventative measures are being taken to ensure that the male GM salmon cannot breed with the fertile 'natural' salmon? None, I'll wager, because greedy corporations will cut corners wherever possible, (that includes security measures) for the sake of profit.
Anon, UK



What if the GM tests on salmon fish go wrong and adversely affect humans?

Blaise Oduor, Kenya (living in USA)
What if the GM tests on salmon fish go wrong and adversely affect humans? Some scientists will have their hands full of research work. They may ultimately discover that "salmon disease" that afflicts humans originated somewhere in the jungles of Africa. That should resolve the problem if and when it happens. Enjoy your salmon!
Blaise Oduor, Kenya (living in USA)

Nothing wrong with genetically altered food as long as the experiment was well prepared, and side effects were obtained. All food is made of components, and my point of view is as long as the food isn't a health hazard in the long term and in the short term it is okay to enjoy eating it.
Abdulaziz, Somalia



I would prefer not to eat GM food just yet because it sounds freaky.

Chris Cannon, UK
Everything has advantages and disadvantages, including GM food. I am 16 and I feel that GM food could be beneficial in the future, but not before more testing has happened. I think that it is great that scientists have developed 'better' species, but I cannot help being wary. I would prefer not to eat GM food just yet because it sounds freaky. It is something quite new and it will take a while for the public to understand how important it may be and also we ALL hate change.
Chris Cannon, UK

It's immoral. Of course we shall not eat GM salmons. It is not a difficult choice to say no to GM salmons if you have tasted "real salmon"
Ann-Sofie Johansson, Sweden

Absolutely. Growth hormones are pumped into US cattle and fed to the US populace. They now want to put fish into the food chain that have been genetically modified to grow to five times their normal size in a short period. America, land of the free you are enslaved by big business.
Gerry, Scotland

I'll eat anything that doesn't make me sick, and I don't care where it comes from or who it hurts. I can't wait for big ribs.
Da, USA

Stop this GM madness! Nature always strikes back!
Leif Eriksson, Sweden



Anyone who thinks that GM food will result in cheaper salmon, or anything else, must be out of their tiny minds.

DFA, UK
Anyone who thinks that GM food will result in cheaper salmon, or anything else, must be out of their tiny minds. Once the natural salmon have all been wiped out, the manufacturers of GM salmon will simply hold the world to ransom and start charging ridiculously high prices for their rubbish product.
DFA, UK

Let's make GM animals that don't mind being eaten, then we don't need to feel bad about factory farming.
Fritz, USA

Reading these comments it disturbs me to see how many people think that GM is the same as crossbreeding. You cannot crossbreed a fish with a tomato, but GM has put fish genes in Tomatoes. This is how unknown and potentially dangerous results happen in GM.
Jonny, UK



If the Media and the public persist in their scare-mongering we will lose valuable life saving medicines.

H Ong, UK
Hmmm anti-GM luddites at it again. If we "ban" GM technology for food, where does that leave GM technology for medicine. We have been using GM insulin (for diabetics) and GM-tPA (for heart attacks) for years now.
If the Media and the public persist in their scare-mongering we will lose valuable life saving medicines. If we lose our pool of scientists in GM-food industry, this will also threaten GM in medicine as well.
H Ong, UK

GM modified organisms if released can permanently contaminate the environment. No other form of pollution has this permanent effect. It is totally unreasonable to leave future generations to deal with the problems this may cause.
Sarah, UK

We often hear the following argument against genetic modification: "What if this gene escapes into the wild?". Think about it: the gene is ALREADY in the wild, quite harmlessly, in other species. Where do you think the scientists got it from?
Michael Hing, UK

I would never eat GM salmon! We were born naturally; machines did not make us. We live and depend on nature. We should not disturb it any more.
Ying, China



I question the need for all this interference in the natural world.

Wes Raymond, Canada
I question the need for all this interference in the natural world. Nature has provided for so long and we play with what we know little of when we play with the process of creation. In our rush to make money we forget that we are only here until we ruin our world or it ruins us. If we take the basic path of development and twist it to meet our own short-sighted needs we will find some time down the road that we have shortened our own development by the monsters that we MIGHT create.
Wes Raymond, Canada

GM food OK - Label them - Let people have choice - to buy it or not. If later on the scientists change their tune, saying they cause problems, then it would be a tragedy of immense proportion.
Dilip Jani, USA

Atlantis all over again! Don't do it, don't go there, once the fish get out and contaminate others its all over. The majority of sane intelligent people do not want GM foods, who is going to be accountable and pay when things go wrong? Not the scientist and certainly not the politicians. Spend the money on intelligent natural science and stop playing with millions of years of evolution.
Frances M. Eddleston, Canada


Just because we can do something doesn't mean we have the moral right to do it

Brian, England
Am I the only one to have seen/read Jurassic Park? Scientists gave us the A-bomb, and we've spent decades being terrified of that - and quite rightly. Now we think we know enough to interfere with the very mechanics of growth. What will it take before we are humble enough not to think that Science actually knows what it's doing, and realise that in fact it's mostly guessing at where it's taking us, seldom thinking of the consequences. Just because we can do something doesn't mean we have the moral right to do it (A-bombs et al).
Brian, England

The cow that you eat at a restaurant has little in common with the wild Arouchs that cavemen speared. The same applies to all domestic food animals. Why should salmon be different. As for the spread of new genes into wild populations, natural selection will prevent major problems. If the gene causes does not add to survival ability under wild conditions it will be removed from the population.
William Gary Brand, USA

I will not knowingly eat anything genetically engineered nor radiated. We are as powerless to stop these companies, as you are in Europe, because of profits
Ixmayek, USA

Yes I would eat GM salmon. However it is important that sufficient testing is done to ensure the general salmon population is not contaminated (cross-bred). There should also be tests to verify the safety of the GM salmon meat for human consumption.
Harold Baker, USA



How can a collection of human beings be so conceited as to believe that they have the knowledge to second-guess Mother Nature.

Mike Roantree, UK
The salmon has become the way it has through many many years of natural selection and evolution. How can a collection of human beings be so conceited as to believe that they have the knowledge to second-guess Mother Nature. Again the corporations and money men seem to be deaf to the fact that the vast majority of people will not eat GM foods.
Mike Roantree, UK

I fish for salmon and I love to eat this fish. If salmon can be grown much faster and bigger by GM methods this would drastically reduce the price. I believe that there are so many other dormant dangers such as breathing smoke polluted air, that the dangers only assumed to be inflicted by GM must be minute. Yes, let's start making bigger plates to accommodate these monsters!
de Min, Netherlands

No GM food on my plate! Save your time and money on your research. I will never buy it or eat it consciously. Don't count on me as a customer. Ask me why? How about my choice? This is enough for me.
Mario, USA



Nature is being put out of business by second rate products and insatiable human greed.

D Soleil, Canada
Farmed salmon is a joke! If you like to eat additives and antibiotics go ahead, dig in. Even the colour is phoney, induced by artificial pigments in the food. Real salmon get that from spending time feasting out in the open ocean. I live a stone's throw from the Fraser River which used to be the biggest salmon-producing river in the world. It's a pity this resource wasn't managed properly. Nature is being put out of business by second rate products and insatiable human greed.
D Soleil, Canada

I'd rather be counting the money I saved buying farm-raised, genetically engineered salmon than fretting over how the fish feels about its sterility.
MJK, USA

In answer to several of the issues posed by comments here I would offer the following facts:

(1) Our salmon reach market size - 3 to 4 Kg - in about half the time it takes for standard fish;
(2) They do not get bigger than standard Atlantics. We know this after 14 years of research;
(3) Genetic change introduced into our salmon is less than occurs in traditional cross-breeding or hybridization: only a small portion of one gene is introduced which does not come from a salmon but from another edible fish. It allows the salmon to use salmon growth proteins more efficiently. Our salmon do not produce anything not already produced by standard Atlantics. By comparison, the kind of traditional breeding we have done for centuries involves mixing literally thousands of genes, often across species lines with far less knowable results;
(4) Blind taste tests have occurred in which participants were asked to distinguish between standard farm-raised fish and ours. They could not tell them apart.


Were we to rely on what "nature" supplied us with, as opposed to what we have been able to alter, it is estimated that we could not feed even 10% of the world.

Elliot Entis, Aqua Bounty Farms, USA
We need to feed more people at less expense and with less impact on the environment. Doubling the harvest in the same water space is potentially a great environmental advantage. Moreover, since our fish will be sterile - a process involving a pressure shock to the eggs (no chemicals) and widely used in many types of fish farming - problems associated with the mating of domestic fish with wild salmon will be reduced or eliminated.

I would also remind everyone that despite calls for leaving things in their "natural order", virtually nothing we grow and eat is natural: every major crop has been "gene modified" by farmers and others for ages. And nature is always changing: nothing is static.

Finally, the scientists who developed this advance are not American: both are Canadian, one born in Scotland and the other in Asia.
Elliot Entis, Aqua Bounty Farms, USA



We should prevent the US and other governments from paying producers not to produce.

Peter, USA
Let's not mess with nature. This whole genetic manipulation is very much like a science fiction movie where humanity ends up fighting the blob or some similar creature. Who knows what this might do to our younger generations. We should prevent the US and other governments from paying producers not to produce. There is enough food to feed the whole world.
Peter, USA

It's not about choice but about risk: It only has to go wrong once, and when it does go wrong, it will reproduce & reproduce & reproduce. What if the GM-tests prove that it IS harmful. How will they deal with that?
Richard L., UK

If it has passed the standard health and safety tests, I would eat it. I see nothing morally incorrect about GM foods and feel that it is only the uninformed that really go against it!
Matt, UK

When are people going to realise that these new food production experiments hold the key to ending World famine. In case anyone has failed to realise, the World's population is growing at an alarming rate. 'Genetic Engineering' is nothing new - the cross-pollination of plants and flowers has been going on for years. The fact that scientists happen to have identified certain genes and given this process a new name is irrelevant. The sooner the media gets bored of this pointless debate and people start thinking for themselves the better.
Neil, UK



The current paranoia in the UK over so-called "GM foods" is riddled with ignorance and scare mongering.

Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK
The current paranoia in the UK over so-called "GM foods" is riddled with ignorance and scare mongering. Everything we eat has been genetically modified by either man or nature ... we're just speeding it up a bit. I have no issues eating such food, though I should also add that sensible debate, devoid of hysteria, is not only welcome, but should be strongly encouraged.
Mark M. Newdick, USA/UK

Now, salmon, what next? Sheep the size of elephants? It's all profoundly immoral. The manipulation and abuse of other animals has to stop.
Nige, England

We have been growing modified foods and plants for years and yet people are just starting to get a bit nervous about it. If it were going to affect us at all it would have done it by now. Genetic modification is, as far as I see it, a means to cheaply feeding the world population. Something which a large number of third world countries could do with right now... they've been eating GM crops for years and would have no doubt died without them. I'd take the cheaper GM salmon over the expensive natural stuff without a doubt.
Jamie, UK



I would like the choice to eat GM free foods.

Hamilton Clarke, England
I have no problem with what other people are prepared to put in their bodies, but I would like the choice to eat GM free foods. How sure can we be that this growth gene will not be introduced into the environment? Freedom is all about options, it means nothing if this particular use for gene technology is found safe or not, if we no longer have the choice to eat salmon that has not been genetically modified.
Hamilton Clarke, England

Isn't it bad enough that we breed animals to kill and eat? Do we really need to modify them to save us time and money? This is just good old American greed gone one step nearer insanity.
Justin, UK

This may seem a very silly question but if these fish are infertile, how did they breed them in the first place ? If the fertile parents of these fish are not "super salmon" themselves then how are they produced ? Finally has anyone done any feeding trials to see what the long term effects on eating these fish are, as would have to be done on a new drug ?
Graham Pulham, UK

I seem to remember the same thing being done to pigs in about 1993. The pigs grew quickly all right, but they all had arthritis, couldn't walk and most of them died of liver failure. Has there been any mention of the health implications of the engineered salmon? What is their quality of life expected to be like?
Dan Hurst, England

Fact - farmed fish escape into the wild. Fact - sterilisation techniques are never 100% effective. The potential exists for GM salmon to pollute a very successful gene pool that has been 'naturally selected' over many years. Why aren't scientists getting the message that the majority of people in this country don't want to take such risks where nature is concerned? Money isn't everything.
J Lowe, UK

This plan has nothing to do with feeding the poor. It is just another mean whereby big business can capitalise on their financial strengths.
John Oliver, UK

Humans will always strive for convenience. If we can tame all of nature we will have conquered our greatest inconvenience - unpredictability. But what a dull world we will have created.
Tim Hewitt, UK



The cynic in me realises that GM foods are not being developed for humanitarian reasons.

Martina, London
I think the potential of GM foods is fantastic. We have the potential to feed the planet, to feed the starving. However, the cynic in me realises that GM foods are not being developed for humanitarian reasons. They are being developed for profit. Capitalism and Science don't make very good bedfellows - they have conflicting interests! If money is pushing these developments then time is of the essence and proper care and attention is not given to predicting possible consequences. This is what worries me.
Martina, London

Can't think of good reason why anyone wouldn't eat one. The argument that GM technology is somehow unethical or even 'unnatural' rings hollow. The only real concern with GMO's, that the transgenes will be 'released' into the ecosystem. This is overcome in the case with the transgenic salmon being sterile. What's the problem?
Ste Lockton, UK

There has been recent research on population dynamics that indicated that because female salmon prefer larger mates they will preferentially choose the GM fish. But the GM fish are less fertile and less able to survive in the wild. The net result is that the introduced genes spread rapidly through the wild salmon population which then crashes to extinction after a mere 40 generations.
John Small, UK

You take the rough with the smooth. If it means an end to the existing Salmon farming methods in the Scottish lochs them I'm all for it. The wild North Atlantic Salmon is practically extinct and anything that helps redress that balance should be encouraged. I think we face a far greater threat from the pollution of (which current farming methods contribute to) our rivers than the GM foods. It is a question of balance.
Niel Dunnage, UK

Of course I'd buy and eat it, if the flavour/texture were comparable to traditionally farmed salmon. Presumably these advances could also reduce the price of smoked salmon products.
Dr David L Cooper, UK



The US and its bio-tech firms are instrumental in abolishing individual's right to choose.

Tridiv Borah, Germany/India
To me the most serious danger emanating from GM food is due to extreme lack of awareness of the US consumers where the companies can sell anything in the name of new technology. Let them eat whatever they like, but how do we prevent them from reaching consumers who are not willing to eat GM food. There is almost no way of preventing such infiltration. In that sense, the US and its bio-tech firms are instrumental in abolishing individual's right to choose. This is a most dangerous scenario.
Tridiv Borah, Germany/India

No, no, no! As a person who has many friends in the fishing industry in Alaska it has been bad enough seeing the advent of farmed salmon, causing prices (and profits for the fishermen) to drop dramatically. GM salmon would further decrease profits for the fishermen... perhaps putting an end to a major fishery in Alaska.
Jeremiah Kero, Alaska USA

Most Brits eat fish and chips out of dirty newspaper print - GM salmon can't be any worse for your health!
Simon Hammelburger, Israel

I wouldn't want to eat GM food. It may be cheaper, but right now, there's more than enough food for everyone. Just as we respect vegetarians, we must also understand that there will always be people who do not believe in technologically modified food. So, I say; Respect each other's rights!
Ho Jin Cheng, Singapore



Tampering with the genetics or manufacturing blueprint of a living organism is a powerful but dangerous tool to wield.

Jon Roney, UK
Tampering with the genetics or manufacturing blueprint of a living organism is a powerful but dangerous tool to wield. Nature itself is complex and notoriously difficult to predict. Bringing the two together whether in crops or fish where we can have little influence over what other organisms interact with the GMisms is fraught with dangers some of which we can not possibly comprehend before an incident happens.
Jon Roney, UK

Even IF 100% sterility could be guaranteed, wild fish populations could still be disrupted by the size of fish, breeding and feeding competition, as well as diseases and parasites common to fish farms. In addition, the GM salmon have suffered facial deformities and side effects - graphically reported in the scientific literature. When considering whether we want to have this fish on our plates, we also need to look further into the other environmental aspects, such as where will the feed come from? Fish meal from wild-caught fish or GM soya? GM salmon would be introduced into an already troubled fisheries industry, where even the commonly eaten cod is an endangered species and waters are polluted by fish farms. The GM grow-fast salmon do not attempt to address any of these problems. The question falls back - again - to profits.
Viola Sampson, UK



Specific genetic modifications should be tested thoroughly using a similar process that is used to test new drugs.

Mike Burton, UK
Specific genetic modifications should be tested thoroughly using a similar process that is used to test new drugs. If a particular modification is shown - beyond reasonable doubt - to be safe and beneficial, then it should be licensed for use. The testing should take into account the effect on the environment as well as the effect on consumers. It's stupid to either for or against GM in general.
Mike Burton, UK

I've read everything from warnings of doom based on nothing but the fictional Jurassic Park to suggestions that modern genetic engineering is no different from the selective breeding used on farms for hundreds of years. When children play with fire, they are risking their lives. Yet they are also learning about a technology without which modern civilisation would never have been possible. It is that balance of risk against benefit that we must strike to achieve.
Darren Reynolds, UK

Certainly not. Who knows what devilment these mad scientists have been up to. One might start growing gills. Tinkering with Mother Nature is courting disaster I say.
Jim, USA

Do all the "NO GM food" advocates really understand about GM foods? Are they aware that just about every loaf of bread purchased in the UK is made from GM wheat? Remember pictures from your history lessons showing TALL wheat being harvested.
The ever-popular pots of processed yoghurt contain GM soya, in almost every case. And so it goes on and on. So bring on the GM salmon to join the GM beef and GM vegetables and GM fruit for a right royal banquet!
Steaming, UK



The possible dangers have been blown out of all proportion by the environmentalists.

Claire, UK
Anything that can improve the nutritional content of food and keep disease away from crops must be good. The possible dangers have been blown out of all proportion by the environmentalists, who have approached the subject as they approach all things not totally natural - with alarming ignorance and narrow-mindedness.
If there are dangers, they are likely to be purely environmental, there is no direct risk to human health.
Claire, UK

There is a need to produce food that will sustain the world's ever increasing population but at what cost. Until it has been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that there is not a catastrophe in the making then we should take caution before we possibly destroy the delicate balance of nature.
Barry, England



More research is needed to convince me and other well-thinking individuals that no harm will come from GM foods.

Thura, Jamaica
I find it disturbing that we think we can replicate the same efficiency of millions and millions of years of evolution through a couple years worth of half-hearted and profit-driven research.
I welcome scientific progress. I am a student of science myself, undertaking research using genetic engineering techniques on a regular basis. But, clearly, more research is needed to convince me and other well-thinking individuals that no harm will come from GM foods.
Thura, Jamaica

Never confuse change and progress or trust the "proof" of anyone whose sole motivation is money.
Leigh, USA

So many of the people who have commented on this mention BSE, however, BSE has nothing to do with GM foods so everyone who has used this in their reason not to eat GM food obviously don't know what they are talking about.
Matt, UK

Does our opinion matter. I think it will be produced because they (producers) can always find a market. If not America or Europe, why not countries where people are not literate, strong and rich enough to say no to such a big scientific temptation from the only power.
Usman Raja, Canada



It is the abuse of science by government and the scare tactics of mass media that cause the problems.

Steve McIntosh, Scotland
Hmmm, why does everyone have something against scientists? Do none of you drive a car, buy CDs, watch television, use a computer, wear clothes or brush your teeth?
It's not science that is bad in itself, it is the abuse of science by government and the scare tactics of mass media that cause the problems.
Steve McIntosh, Scotland (living in USA)

No, I will not eat GM salmon. No, I will not eat GM crops. Have we learned absolutely nothing yet about tampering with nature? What I find infuriating is that GM crops, fish, whatever are being forced into the food chain whether we like it or not, simply via the varied tests, and there seems nothing whatever that we can do to prevent it happening, apart from writing our objections to the BBC.
R. Hopkins-Green, England

I would have no problem eating GM salmon. As long as it looked and tasted like regular salmon.
Nick C. Flynn, United States of America

These new genetically modified plants and animals have the potential to end starvation in the world. As long as scientists do this to animals and plants and do not modify human beings, I support this. But modifying humans is very wrong.
Stephen, USA



I am fed up with scientists who advertise their most recent inventions as perfectly safe, only to discover after 20 years that they were "slightly mistaken".

Irina Popa, Canada
No, no and no. I am fed up with scientists who advertise their most recent inventions as perfectly safe, only to discover after 20 years that they were "slightly mistaken". I am convinced that we can find other methods to help those who starve (if only we could give up some of our over-consumption habits).
Irina Popa, Canada



These salmon are going to feed the world's hungry? Give us a break.

Simon Dresner, UK
A lot of people in this debate are being rather simplistic. It makes no sense to reject "science".
It is just completely naive to think that it is "scientific" to support the GM salmon (a) without any evidence that it truly is safe; and (b) when what evidence we do have suggests that it may be extremely dangerous and risks driving wild salmon populations to extinction.
That's not being pro-science, that's being an idiot. It's not "science" that tells us to breed these appallingly unhealthy giant salmon; it's greed. These salmon are going to feed the world's hungry? Give us a break.
Simon Dresner, UK

There is absolutely no need for it. There is plenty of food in the world, all this is yet another illustration of business greed. We have enough salmon, we have enough food, let's work on making sure everyone gets a chance to eat it, not work on distorting nature to benefit the greedy.
Peter Gordon, UK



Our entire modern crops and animals are the result of (in cases) thousands of years of selective breeding

Chris Scott, Australia
Do the anti-GM food lobby realise that all the food they eat is genetically modified? Our entire modern crops and animals are the result of (in cases) thousands of years of selective breeding to produce varieties of plants and animals with desirable qualities (size, taste, disease resistance and speed of growth). They are genetically quite different from their ancestors. If we could grow only the strains of maize and potatoes used by the American Indians and the cows of the Ancient Britons, most of the world would be starving. GM is merely achieving genetic modification with greater speed and precision. Bring on the jumbo salmon!
Chris Scott, Australia

I don't think that the core issue here is GM salmon, or even GM food in general. The fundamental choice is the classic choice between living standards and the environment. Even today, there is enough food to feed the world without GM technology. The problem is that 80% of the food goes to 20% of the people. Since most of the commentators here belong to the lucky 20%. So, are any of the speakers here prepared to put their money where their mouths are, and drop their living standards substantially, so that each of you could feed 4 people from the unlucky 80%?? Please remember that for each of you who argue on this page about GM salmon (or any other issue), there are 4 people who can't make that choice because they have no food, GM or otherwise.
Hiroki, Japan

This is clearly a highly emotional and polarised debate. I would just remind everyone that the scientific process is one of trial and error!
Laurence, Dubai



They do not know the future implications of eating genetically modified fish.

Linda Jenkins Crawford, USA
They do not know the future implications of eating genetically modified fish. They have already caused problems with GM crops escaping and causing environmental damage. BT corn kills Monarch butterflies but Monsanto crop seems to think that this is OK. I do not want to eat GM food.
Linda Jenkins Crawford, USA

"However the company insists they cannot interbreed with other fish because they are infertile" Haven't they watched Jurrasic Park?
Nadi Findikli, USA

The use of GM foods will be proven to be a flagrant undermining of any consumers immune system especially if children are unknowingly and without their informed concern consume such 'freak' products this is a perversion of science as far as foodstuffs are concerned
John Zervos, Greece

How sad, the once proud Britons are now pathetic cowards, demanding cradle to grave security and afraid to take any chances whatsoever. What a terrible shame, genetically modified to be politically correct, following their leaders like so many sheep.
An Englishman once said that America had no past, I say Britain has no future.
Roy Olsen, USA

The problem is that consumers will not be given the opportunity to make any choice. Like it or not, it will find its way into the food chain in one form or another.
Ubong Effeh, UK



I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole - until everyone else has!

Raymond Bettison, UK
Perhaps it's because I perceive there to be too much money at stake for GM companies to say any different. But I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole - until everyone else has!
Raymond Bettison, UK

What a choice! We either get GM salmon from the scientists that brought us the cyclamate and saccharine "scares" of so many years ago, or we get the fish-farm salmon that die in the thousands from the pollution of their tanks and the disease ridden farms in Scotland. Gee, what an interesting dilemma!
David Fletcher, UK



It is rampant madness to eat this produce especially after BSE.

P Walter, England
It is rampant madness to eat this produce especially after BSE. Science may have eradicated smallpox but what kind of argument is that for destroying the ecosystem. As for the person who said American scientists have proved GM foods are safe are these the same scientists who didn't accept the gulf war syndrome or BSE?
P Walter, England

Of course I would. There's nothing makes me more in favour of GM food than the luddite fools who rant against it...
Alan, UK

They grow ten times faster; do they also grow larger? They cost only half as much to raise, but how does this affect the price per pound on my plate? They are infertile - but do they know this and do their potential mates know this?
Looks like there's more answers needed to take an informed decision. Who is going to provide the answers - not someone with a vested interest, I hope.
Henry Sewell, USA

Why stop at animals and plants with this new GM technology, why not take it to its logical conclusion and use it in humans. We could manufacture advanced athletes capable of almost anything, soldiers who do not feel pain or emotion and have incredible strength and endurance, we could eradicate genetic defects and diseases and make the general public live longer and healthier lives.
Sounds like something from Nazi Germany? Well that is exactly what this science is doing with these salmon.
Alan Cameron, UK



GM technology has vast potential, to feed the world in the coming overpopulated decades.

Greg Harris, UK
Some people do not seem to realise that the contribution of science to the modern world, the population of the whole world would be cold and starving without modern technology. If we are careful science and technology are invaluable to human kind.
I would like to remind people that it is the fault of politicians and farmers cutting costs that we had a problem with BSE, scientists who warned of the dangers and sorted out the resulting mess! GM technology has vast potential, to feed the world in the coming overpopulated decades.
Greg Harris, UK

I would certainly not eat GM salmon. The sooner that all GM foods are clearly marked so that customers have the choice to be able to leave all GM foods on the shelf the better. The only reason that these goods are produced is money - the state of the environment is so toxic already that its intolerable that the government doesn't ban all these GM foods until they have been properly tested.
A Jones, Wales

You only have to look at the fish to know something is not right. I have a degree in Chemistry and know a little about pharmacology.
When will we learn that nature should not be fiddled with, was BSE not enough to convince us that nature will bite back when abused like this.
Rob Williams, England



What are the long-term effects of eating this food to humans?

James Jeffrey, USA, but English
I'm firmly in the NO camp on this one. There is a natural order to things, which I believe is dangerous to tamper with. We already have farm raised salmon, why do we need to speed up the process, would we want our lives to be sped up so drastically?
What are the long-term effects of eating this food to humans, we are only now seeing the effects of past decisions. Leave the Salmon alone.
James Jeffrey, USA, but English

I enjoy salmon but would certainly not knowingly eat GM salmon (or any GM food, if possible). So what if scientists say it is safe, scientists are not infallible. Never underestimate the human ability to screw things up and I certainly would not trust big GM companies to put safety before profit.
Ian, UK

I'd eat GM foods, as far as I am concerned they are a safe food source that is sustainable and has the advantage of being able to deliver essential vitamins and minerals.
Joe Strachan, Scotland



Nothing is said about the GM salmon tasting any better.

David, UK
Nothing is said about the GM salmon tasting any better. If the evidence of GM tomatoes is anything to go by, they might be cheaper but they certainly don't taste as good.
David, UK

No danger to us. US scientists have proved it! Well that's should be good enough for everyone. What would we do without the superior knowledge of the US scientist!
Joe, Scotland

To Brian Kelly - would these scientists be the same that work for the FDA and said beef from cows fed with growth hormones is perfectly safe to eat?
Patrick Seurre, UK

This is NOT science gone mad; it is the commercial exploitation of science gone mad.
Rob Finch, UK

Is it advancement? Is it investor driven? Is it necessary (really)? Could there be alternatives resulting from efficiencies elsewhere? The frightening thing is not only is most of the world politically denying their own B.S.E. problems (thus might 'deny all' reign again), but also what are we going to do when the next 'advancement' jeopardises natural selection for our children's children? It's market driven - let's not do it to ourselves. Please.
Mark Selby, UK



Scientists say it's safe. So we can trust them?

MTB, UK
US Scientists say it's safe. So we can trust them? Are these independent scientists or are these the US government ones who expounded nuclear fuel, or corporate ones that told us tobacco was safe? I am all in favour of GM food but only after a good test period and without companies trying to make a quick dollar without proper safety checks. GM food is ultimately for the good (please don't put me with those Luddite loonies who claim to protect the environment) but caution and careful development are a must.
MTB, UK

Oh, what a wonderful idea! Just imagine, one day our high priests of the technology god will be able to grow large cubes of delicious, nutritious, quivering muscle tissue with a scintillating range of flavours and textures in row after row of incubating vats housed in factories that sprawl for miles. "Look how much we've saved on our weekly shopping bill darling!" "Aren't our scientists clever!" "Mummy, Mummy why is the sky brown? Why are the rivers black?"
David Barltrop, UK



Yet another attempt by North American multi-national corporations at world domination to keep themselves rich whilst the third world remains impoverished.

John, UK
Yet another attempt by North American multi-national corporations at world domination to keep themselves rich whilst the third world remains impoverished. Did the demonstrations at the WTO conference in Seattle teach us nothing. It is impossible to prevent the escape of GM farmed fish into rivers and streams. It is impossible to make them 100% sterile. The environmental impact, especially on wild fish if inter-breeding takes place is unknown and could be catastrophic.
John, UK

Yes, I would if the salmon tastes equally good. There is usually a difference in taste in wild and aqua-culture salmon, but most salmon we buy now is farm-reared anyway. Faster growth also means less feed consumption (up to 40%), so less pollution from fish farms. In many developing countries, fish provide the bulk of protein, so this has the potential to improve nutrition for the 1 billion people living on the brink.
Peter Doerner, UK

The scientists might not get it right first time but they must be given the chance. Does anyone really believe we would be better off if we had no cars or tractors or lorries. It is only since the agricultural advances that we can feed ourselves without using every bit of land for farming. Well done the GM brigade, press on carefully and let me taste your salmon before I decide to eat it.
Arthur Nightingale, England

Yes, I have no problems with the idea of eating GM fish, or GM corn, soya, potatoes or any of the other GM foods. I sometimes despair of the anti-GM lobbyists and their posturing; fact is, food-species have been genetically modified by humans for centuries! I'd far rather eat GM than organic, but it seems the anti-GM pressure-groups are bent on denying me this freedom.
Pete Morgan-Lucas, Wiltshire UK



Nature or man has selected all foods for thousands of years.

Reynard, USA
Europeans are paranoid about GM foods. Nature or man has selected all foods for thousands of years. With technology we can just speed up the natural selection process. The real problem is that the general population has little or no training in science.
Reynard, USA

Why not ask the starving millions in Africa if they would prefer it (and other GM food) to starving. There again, if we distributed what the world has fairly we would not need to genetically modify the food chain. If we are though, let us stick to the good old British tradition of NIMBY and test it somewhere else...
Harry, UK

It is wonderful to live hear in the west and have the choice what we should eat, and what we shouldn't eat. Maybe non-GM/organic food evangelists should take a few years sabbatical in Ethiopia or Somalia.
Richard Johnson, United Kingdom

Every invention that has benefited mankind has been treated as evil and dangerous by an ignorant many. Lets run the necessary tests for human and environmental health then if all is ok say a big thank you as we do away with more starvation whilst saving some pennies. No more of these modern day anti science witch hunts please.
Gordon, UK

The problem with GM anything is that we are trying to help God (or so we think) The potentials I think are great but what if something goes wrong?
Kipkemoi, Kenya

I think people will end up eating more and more animals - is this really necessary. People should eat less animal and more vegetable, pulses etc. Secondly, one of the attractions of salmon is that it is special because it is a treat. Salmon, chips and mushy peas somehow loses its appeal.
Stephanie, England

re Stuart, UK: Just because it's progress, doesn't necessarily mean it's for the best. I wouldn't eat GM foods voluntarily, as much from not wanting to line the corporate pockets as for health risks. Don't give in to the propaganda!
Paul, UK



How much more artificial will something forced to grow in a tenth of the time taste?

Gordon Cowell, Spain
While I appreciate the generalised mistrust of scientists who have sold their integrity to the get-rich-quick merchants of the junk-food business (after all, are they going to be paid to tell people that GM food is bad for you!). I'm surprised there has not been more correspondence on the gastronomic approach to the question. Fish-farmed salmon is already far enough away in texture and taste from the real thing. How much more artificial will something forced to grow in a tenth of the time taste?
Gordon Cowell, Spain

At last the miracle of the loaves and fishes is explained...Jesus was a GM scientist.... (although the water in the wine must have been instant freeze dried Merlot!) Is it me or is the world going crazy?
Jonathan, Denmark

Yes, I would eat genetically modified salmon, but only following additional "independent" testing to confirm that there would be no detrimental affect to the environment or consumer.
Duncan, UK

Of course, anyone who rants on about GM not being safe are the same type of people who 100 years ago thought the air would be sucked out their lungs if they went faster than 30mph. Get a grip people - you have been eating GM for years. It's progress, don't stand in its way.
Stuart, UK

You don't know if it is safe until you can prove that nobody has ever died of it. I think I'll leave the food-taster's job to someone else.
Phil, UK



Let's stick to natural food and be healthier.

Margaret Carre, Belgium
Absolutely not! We're winning over GM crops why should we allow GM salmon? As for the American eating GM foods for years and years - look what has happened to them - a nation of over-weighters. Who says GM has nothing to do with that. Let's stick to natural food and be healthier.
Margaret Carre, Belgium

Would I eat GM Salmon - hell yeah! I love salmon, and I'm as trusting of GM food producers as I am of any other food producers (95% fat free, my eye!). As for luddites who appear to oppose all progress through science, quoting three Mile Island and Thalidomide - science isn't infallible, as any scientist will tell you - but the benefits outweigh the negatives. The fact that you've quoted Jurassic Park says it all.
Rich, UK



PLEASE could someone out there make a chicken with four legs?

C Noel, UK
Forget about salmon, everyone in my family loves chicken drumsticks. So PLEASE could someone out there make a chicken with four legs? While you're at it, throw in an extra couple of extra wings as well. Think of the hassle involved in plucking these creatures. So hey, let's make bald ones!
C Noel, UK

Under no circumstances would I eat GM food at all, let alone some giant fish that had been artificially generated.
Bob Salt, UK

As with most things of this nature, time will tell whether it was a safe choice or another ecological disaster that should have been left waiting in the wings.
I think it is a little naive of Phil Broeders et al to expect scientific progress to stop simply because scientists can't fully guarantee that every single development of theirs will never produce a negative side effect.
To counter Phil Broeder's quote from Jurassic Park I'd respond with the maxim: "You don't get something for nothing!"
Rob Docherty, England



What right have we got to create a sterile species of fish with no reason of existence except for our own greed?

CC, Northern Ireland
There are all these comments from people concerning how it will affect human health - has anyone actually bothered to think of the salmon? What right have we got to create a sterile species of fish with no reason of existence except for our own greed?
These fish (when not shut in cages and not genetically modified) instinctively swim thousands of miles to their breeding grounds, what way will their instincts be messed up by foreign genes??
CC, Northern Ireland

In reply to Phil Broeders, it was scientists who were responsible for the eradication of smallpox, for producing treatments for many types of cancer, for etc etc. Scientists discover/innovate, it is up to society how/if these discoveries are used.
John Gilbey, UK

It's all very well breeding GM salmon in farms, but what happens when these escape into the rivers and oceans? They breed with the natural creatures of the species and, before you know it, there ain't no such thing as a common or garden natural fish. Extinction! You won't catch GM fish on my plate!
Mark Howells, UK



I'm not bothered about any implications of GM foods at all - it's merely another step in existing technology.

Alex S, UK
Dear Brian Kelly - Tartare sauce with salmon. Honestly, you yanks just have no idea, do you!:-) However on this, for once, I agree wholeheartedly with you. I'm not bothered about any implications of GM foods at all - it's merely another step in existing technology. However, if the GM salmon tastes like it goes with tartare sauce, I'll stick to the old stuff!
Alex S, UK

Do these people have any idea what they are doing? I mean no-one has the right to play God. I wish they would do PHDs in common sense.
Anon, UK

I personally have no fears about the safety of eating GM food, I have yet to see any even partially rational basis for the horror stories that so many groups and people state of the new inserted genes altering your own DNA.
I feel that these panic inducing and headline grabbing "Fears" merely detract away from the true danger of GM food which is the sudden insertion of a new species into the food chain. The planet at large is only just barely beginning to recover from the introduction of intensive farming and selective breeding.
Colin, UK



The day GM salmon is on the supermarket shelves is the day I stop eating salmon.

Wes, UK
I find the idea utterly revolting. The day GM salmon is on the supermarket shelves is the day I stop eating salmon. Not to mention the understated risk to wild salmon. There rapid developments would inevitably wipe out any chance of natural survival, just like the advance aggressive African bees, because the hybrid African strain queens hatch before the more European queens.
As a thought experiment, imagine the effects on the human race if some of us developed ten times as fast and were physically mature in only 18 months - I'm not suggesting this would happen, but think about it.
Wes, UK

I find it amazing that environmentalists come up with all these objections against every advancement or discovery, and don't try to provide any genuine alternative to what science is providing other than eating fruit and vegetables and subsequently destroying every farming industry and GM food industry going.
Mark, Germany

No, I would never eat GM salmon in thousand years. Why do we never learn from our past mistakes? (BSE, etc). Apart from possible risks to our health, when are people going to realise that, once done, damage to the environment is forever.
Jane Miller, England



I for one would welcome any opportunity to buy the sort of food I love at less than the outrageous prices charged in supermarkets.

Alex S, UK
Wonderful! Bring them on. I for one would welcome any opportunity to buy the sort of food I love at less than the outrageous prices charged in supermarkets and on the high streets.
I'm sorry, but I am not convinced that splicing the gene of a potato to make it resistant to frost is going to give me cancer any more than breeding the colour in and flavour out of a tomato. Why should I be denied the option?
I can still buy a packet of cigarettes, and everybody knows the health risks related to smoking. Why haven't they been banned? (Apart from the obvious tax revenue!)
Alex S, UK

No, quite frankly I don't want to be told in 20 years time, oh you know that GM food you were eating well it causes illnesses x, y and z.
A Smyth, UK

I would be grateful to test any GM food as I am sure that there is a conspiracy against the GM companies in the food industry with many of the traditional companies afraid of the competition.
Peter Tansey, Scotland



Scientists seem oblivious of their actions within the environment.

Colin, Netherlands
This part of the GM issue is swapping genes between similar species and therefore might be okay. There are supposed to be differences between calf and cow meat, lamb and mutton, but I don't know whether these GM salmon would have a different taste. 'A meal for 4 people and the fish is 6 hours old!' I can't see a reason for manufacturing GM salmon and GM scientists seem oblivious of their actions within the environment.
Colin, Netherlands

The only good thing in genetically manipulated tame salmon is that if it indeed is edible it will reduce the catching of wild salmon and protect it from over fishing. How such broiler salmon would contribute into water contamination and algae growth due huge amounts of fish manure produced during growing such fish has not at all been discussed at any forum.
Mikko Toivonen Finland

Who really cares. As long as it tastes as good as the original salmon. After all we have been consuming GM BEEF AND POULTRY FOR THE PAST SO MANY YEARS. So why worry about GM Salmon. As long as it is scientifically safe and does not cause degenerating effects on human metabolism, and human reproductive system.
Nazir Salyani, Canada



There is absolutely no danger to humans - U.S. scientists have proved so.

Brian Kelly, Netherlands
As an American living in Europe I really can't understand all the fuss about GM foods. There is absolutely no danger to humans - U.S. scientists have proved so. Bigger really is better! If you want to pay higher prices for smaller fish that's your problem. Pass me the tartare sauce.....
Brian Kelly, Netherlands (originally USA)

Yes, I would eat GM salmon. We are doing far more damage to the salmon's health and to the rest of the links higher up the food chain by the amount of chemicals and pollutants we pour into our rivers and oceans. Does altering something by GM methods make any difference?
Jenni, UK

This debate is pointless as so many of the others dealing with GM foods or as they are so fondly referred to as Frankenstein foods. I would like to point out the fact that because our planet is becoming over populated, our land and oceans are losing the war against pollution, erosion, and draught, GM foods are going to become a necessity. Does anyone remember the 60's film with Charlton Heston "Soylent Green"? That could be our future without modern technology.
Deidra, Citizen of the world

I'd rather stick pins in my eyes.
John Bowen, UK

Yes - so long as it tastes like a salmon and not a test tube.
Hugh Acland, UK



Trouble is, it was scientists who said it was OK to feed ground up cows to other cows.

Phil Broeders, UK
Scientists! Wonderful people, aren't they. And we place our lives in their hands every day. Trouble is, it was scientists who said it was OK to feed ground up cows to other cows. Scientists who developed Thalidomide and said it was safe. Scientists who insisted that nuclear power was safe (until Chernobyl, 3 Mile Island, etc. etc.).
I'm afraid that scientists are not the infallible creatures they think they are - and we're the ones who bear the brunt of their arrogance. As Ian Malcolm said in Jurassic Park "They got so focused on whether they could, they forgot to ask whether they should".
Phil Broeders, UK


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11 Apr 00 | Sci/Tech
Giant GM salmon on the way
01 Dec 99 | Sci/Tech
'Trojan gene' could wipe out fish
29 Jul 99 | Sci/Tech
GM salmon prompts safety pledge
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