Birke Reports: Why We Shouldn’t Trust GMO Salmon

This post is written by Birke Baehr, a 13 year-old organic farming advocate and author. I’m excited to announce he is now a regular contributor here on Food Babe – please give him a warm welcome!

Something sneaky is happening over at the FDA these days…

Genetically Engineered Salmon known as AquAdvantage salmon has been developed by a company named Aqua Bounty Technologies and has been the first genetically modified animal to be considered “fit” for human consumption. It is currently up for approval at the FDA – set to be approved in late February…unless we speak up.

This AquAdvantage salmon is made by adding the growth hormone regulating gene from a Pacific Chinook Salmon and a promoter gene from an eel like fish to the Atlantic’s 40,000+ genes. The eel has a special “anti freeze” gene, that will allow the Atlantic Salmon to grow twice as fast in the winter, when it usually doesn’t grow that much at all. The salmon will grow year-round vs. only two seasons normally and will grow to market size in 16 to 18 months rather than three years.

Growing bigger and faster means more profit for salmon farmers, but will this greater profit be at the expense of human health?


Picture courtesy of Institute of Responsible Technology

Genetically engineered foods pose substantial health risks, including accelerated aging, infertility and immune system dysfunction, according to The American Academy of Environmental Medicine.

Health risks are always a nice add on to any GE foods (insert sarcasm here), but consider this. I discovered that scientists recently have found that the growth hormone gene that has been injected into the beefed-up salmon, has higher levels of the cancer promoting hormone IGF-1 which is the same hormone that has caused much controversy in the past with the dairy industry.

Didn’t the FDA learn their lesson with approving rBGH (i.e. recombinant bovine growth hormone) that has the same exact hormone IGF-1? After dairy companies and organizations had to ban its use due to mass consumer disapproval? Now that rBGH is frowned upon by so many large organizations including the American Public Health Association and the American Nurses Association, most other countries, and now by almost all US dairies.

Heck, even Wal-Mart won’t allow the stuff into their milk! My take on this is, if we let this salmon on the market it probably won’t belong before it’s “frowned upon” too. Why don’t we stop these attacks on our health before they reach the supermarkets?

It was discovered by a study done by Purdue University that when only 60 “frankenfish” were released into a habitat of about 60,000 wild fish that in only 40 fish generations there was a complete extinction! I don’t know about you but this doesn’t sound very good.

Just in a little longer than my lifetime (I’m 13) we’ve already seen that when GM foods enter our supermarkets that food allergies heighten. Are we going to wait just a few more years to find that people will start having fish allergies and the FDA will say they don’t know why? Or will they approve some kind of pharmaceutical to combat the allergy? Where must we draw the line?

Many might say our dinner tables or at the supermarket. But, I believe we must stop it at the source and expose these conglomerations for what they are doing.Let’s stop the invasion of these frankenfoods! I like to say that, we can all make a difference by voting everyday for what we wish for our food “system” to become, and then I heard a very wise person say, “That our dollar is our ballot and we must vote for the right candidate!” and we all vote with our dollars every time we go to the grocery store.

Let’s make a difference by going out and sharing this knowledge with our friends & family. Get involved in your community, share this post and let folks know about the products being snuck into our food supply.

And last, but not least, SIGN THIS PETITION asking Obama to stop the approval of GMO Salmon.

Ban gmo salmon 367x207

I truly believe we can have a safe, clean, and dependable food system if we all work together.

Birke Baehr

“Agriculture…is our wisest pursuit, because it will in the end contribute most to real wealth, good morals and happiness.” ~ Thomas Jefferson

More About Birke Baehr -

An Internationally recognized speaker and youth advocate for sustainable food and agriculture, Birke has visited and volunteered at farms around the United States and recently published his first book, “Birke On The Farm“. Birke has spent the last four years traveling around the United States and Italy visiting organic farms and learning from the farmers who steward those farms. He has attended numerous organic agriculture seminars and workshops; including one with renowned farmer and author, Joel Salatin who Birke looks up to in his pursuit of new thinking about food and agriculture. Birke continues to educate himself in this genre and intends to be a sustainable organic agriculturist in the future. He has a passion for educating others, especially his peers, about the destructiveness of the industrialized food system and the enlightening alternatives of sustainable and organic farming, food and practices. You can follow Birke on Facebook and Twitter.

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27 Responses to “Birke Reports: Why We Shouldn’t Trust GMO Salmon”

  1. Beth

    Wow! Thanks for making us aware of this important info and a link to the petition. Its a rather terrifying prospect.

  2. JasonMChicago

    We need to make a ruckus about this and vote with our dollars too. Loud voice, tight wallets, and persistence will pay off. With the nongmoproject getting bigger and bigger and organic getting more “mainstream” I see no reason why consumer voice shouldn’t dictate what happens. Of course it is a tough fight with all the lobbyist in DC spending 100 times more influencing top policy makers.

  3. Reika

    Great post, I did not know too much in detail about GM salmon, but I did know about rBGH in dairy. I can’t believe it’s the same hormone they are using on the salmon! Thank you for the information.

  4. Suzette Batenburg

    I’m appalled. I shop for foods and seeds that do not
    have any GMO,s as a way to voice my opinion.

  5. Wendi Kaye

    Nice post Birke, well put together.

  6. Katya

    That’s right, no frankenfish for human consumption. It destroys eco-system too.

  7. Eleanor

    Birke you are an inspiration! Thank you for the great information!

  8. Susan Lind

    Thanks for the info. My dollars won’t be spent on any GMO foods – if I can discern which foods are GE. I’m afraid they aren’t always identified.

  9. Moses Adams

    Keep up the GOOD WORK Birke !!!!

  10. Ronald Stamm

    Awesome post! I have to ask, though, how do we know which salmon to buy? I have heard the Wild Alaskan Salmon are okay, but how do we know if they are legit or just “greenwashing” or better yet “fishwashing”? Thanks!

    • Birke Baehr (to Ronald Stamm)

      I’ve found that if you’re trying to eat non-GM salmon, wild caught is the best choice! But, if we wait too long to try to shut down GM-salmon we may end up destroying the eco-system. And just like GM-crops cross pollenating with non-gm and contaminating their gene code. We may very soon find these conglomerates suing local fisherman. Because, they had a “patented gene” in the fish they caught. This GM problem has become more than it ever should.

  11. steven hong

    We need to start electing officials that actually care about the future generations. If we had people in congress that cared, they would be thinking about future generations and what legacies we are leaving them with. Thank you Birke for your outspokenness.

    • Food Babe (to steven hong)

      Birke for President!

    • Remy (to steven hong)

      Your problem isn’t the corporations pushing GMO products.
      Its the legality of lobbying that makes politicization work for corporations rather than the average citizen.

      Cut our corporate donation in politics and see how quickly political powers will regulate to preserve the health and well being of the citizens…like they are supposed to in the first place.

      People elect politicians in good faith that they will serve the citizens first before corporate profits..but it wont happen because citizens are not politically educated and so they have to depend on corporate donations to publicize them selves to you with dumbed down version of sound bites in order to get your votes.
      The goal of the corporation is to dumb you down so you are not aware of complex ways they can maximize profits at the risk of your health.

      Until people get smart and change the financing of the political system thigns will be difficult…the GMO issue is only a small part of the larger problem.

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  13. Matt

    Its troubling, sad actually that out government will put greed and politicks ahead of the health and well-being of its citizens. Nothing surprises me anymore. I have never been one to trust or believe anything politicians have to say, but I can say now that I really DO NOT believe a word that comes out of their mouths! My wife and I are doing everything we can to grow our own greens and minimize the intake of harmful “foods.”

    • Assistant to Food Babe (Krista) (to Matt)

      Good job and good luck!

  14. Debbie

    thank you for this info – I signed the petition and gave them my 2 cents worth (hope it helps) as I am so tired of them having that ‘bigger is better’ attitude and it is all for $$$$ in their pockets – we are getting to the point where we will have nothing ‘as nature’ (GOD) intended for us all to eat/stay healthy

  15. Elle

    We need to make everything in our power to stop those people who can not see anything beyond their wallet. All this GMO invasion makes me think – where on Earth is our Government? Who is there to protect us (we even do not know what is GMO what not )? Do those people have children or they are planing after destroying this Planet to move to an other? We must sign every petition we see and avoid buying food that we for sure know have GMO.

  16. Wesley

    Walmart is selling 2lb bags of “WILD SALMON CAUGHT IN THE USA-PROCESSED IN CHINA-PRODUCT OF CHINA” The above comes right of the bag the salmon is packaged in. GMO?


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