Friday, November 20, 2015

FDA Fish Fry


"FDA OK’s genetically modified salmon" by David Abel Globe Staff  November 20, 2015

For the first time, Americans will be able to dine on a genetically altered animal, after federal regulators on Thursday approved a Massachusetts biotechnology company’s bid to modify salmon for human consumption.

Print paragraph removed from web version:

 "The controversial gene-altering procedure to make salmon grow faster, developed in recent years by AquaBounty Technologies of Maynard, makes the fish no less nutritious or safe to consume than any other Atlantic salmon, the Food and Drug Administration said.

After years of testing the company’s modified fish, regulators said there are no “biologically relevant differences” between the so-called AquAdvantage salmon and other farm-raised Atlantic salmon. Still, for the time being the FDA has barred the fish from being cultivated in the United States and has issued strict regulations to prevent the modified salmon from breeding with those in the wild.

The decision was a big win for AquaBounty, which began seeking approval in the 1990s for its technique of inserting growth hormone genes from Chinook salmon and an eel-like creature called ocean pout into the DNA of Atlantic salmon. The faster the fish grow, the more the company can produce and sell, potentially reducing overfishing of the oceans and developing a new source of food for a growing global population.

Company officials said the federal approval would create a new industry in the United States, which they say imports 95 percent of its Atlantic salmon. But it was unclear how long it might take before the fish appear in supermarkets. 

I'm glad I don't eat fish.

“AquAdvantage salmon is a game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner, without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats,” Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, said in a statement.

Environmental and consumer advocates have long raised concerns about genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, saying they could cause health and environmental problems.

Some of the critics insisted that regulators failed to do sufficient safety testing before approving the salmon as fit to eat.

“The FDA is supposed to protect public safety, yet the agency’s environmental review was done in the form of an environmental assessment, instead of a more thorough environmental impact statement that would fully consider the threat this controversial new fish could pose to wild fish populations and ecosystems,” said Wenonah Hauter, the executive director of Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based advocacy group.

Others criticized the agency for not requiring the fish to be labeled as genetically modified. The FDA instead encouraged the company to voluntarily label the food as altered.

“Consumers deserve transparency around something as fundamental as the food they eat and feed their families,” said Deirdre Cummings, legislative director for the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, a statewide advocacy group. “It is unconscionable that AquaBounty is not required to label their genetically engineered salmon.”

Agency officials said their environmental assessment found that the altered salmon “would not have a significant environmental impact, because of the multiple and redundant measures being taken to contain the fish and prevent their escape.”

The agency’s approval, however, still bars the company from raising the fish in the United States. The company will be allowed to raise the salmon only in specially designed land-based tanks in Canada and Panama.


Then it will be imported and we won't know?

The FDA also requires that the company’s hatcheries maintain “multiple and redundant levels of physical barriers” to prevent eggs and fish from escaping from the tanks. The agency also will require the fish to be sterilized, so that in the event they do escape, they wouldn’t be able to breed with fish in the wild.

I was told they are land tanks; how could they escape?

Regulators from the FDA and the Canadian and Panamanian governments will monitor the company’s hatcheries and conduct regular inspections, agency officials said.

Oh, now I feel soooooo much hungrier for frankenfish!

The FDA approval could boost efforts to create other genetically altered animals.

Already doing it with pigs.

Scientists are increasingly using new tools, including those known as CRISPRs, to alter animal genomes by editing them to include or exclude beneficial or harmful traits. Scottish researchers, for example, have used the technique to breed pigs that have immunity to African swine fever.

And here I thought they just burned it.

Supporters of the technique noted that the gene-modified salmon aren’t introducing anything new or artificial to the fish. They’re just changing the sequence of their DNA.

Yeah, it's all natural.

The results of enabling salmon to grow more quickly, they said, could mean less need to fish depleted wild salmon stocks.

Why bother saving them?

“This product is another example of how sustainability is driving technological innovation,” said Fred Ledley, a professor of natural and applied sciences at Bentley University and the founder of its Center for Integration of Science and Industry.

Robert Vanasse, executive director of Saving Seafood, which represents the seafood industry, said he isn’t concerned about the sale of genetically modified fish. He noted that only about 8 percent of fish sold in the United States are caught in domestic waters.

He said it was more important for the farm-raised fish to be fed a marine diet, rather than something like soybeans. Otherwise the fish would lack the same nutritional benefits.

“I personally think the outrage of genetic modifications is driven by people who don’t understand biology,” he said. “I don’t have a problem with advances of technology.”

Yeah, we's all stupid about what we putting in our bodies! 

Think I will condescend to send the plate back.

On its website, the company says its technique will ultimately help feed the world’s growing population, even as overfishing becomes more of a problem across the planet.

“AquAdvantage Salmon will help address the need for healthy protein by producing more fish in less time,” they wrote.

Outside of the Legal Harborside restaurant in the Seaport District on Thursday, a number of people said they were open to the concept.

Liz Hamilton, 24, a Tufts University medical student from Boston, supports the genetically modified fish.

“It’s funny,” she said. “I wrote a paper on it a few years ago. We’ve been genetically modifying food forever. I see no difference — genetically, molecularly — it’s all the same.”

Barry Canton, 35, of Boston, and Narendra Maheshri, 37, of Cambridge, expressed a similar view. Both work in genetic engineering, though not with food.

Look who the Globe asked, or those that they reported. Other than a couple of concerned paragraphs by controlled-opposition nonprofits, the whole article is promoting this mad $cience.

“I’m pretty comfortable about it,” Canton said. “There’s nothing unnatural in there. No scary chemicals.”

Like the mercury in the tuna causing birth defects? Remember that? Remember BPA in the plastic zippy bottles? All down the memory hole.

“I agree,” Maheshri added, explaining that the breeding is natural. “It’s just doing it in a faster way. The end product is identical.”

The restaurant's owner doesn't agree.


Next thing you know they will be telling us dogfish is a delicacy.

"A man with more than 20 previous convictions for larceny and burglary-related offenses was arrested and charged in connection with four break-ins over the course of three months in Hyde Park, officials said. Christopher Fisher, 49, of Jamaica Plain, has at least three aliases and a 14-page record, according to the Suffolk district attorney’s office."

Just fishering around, readers.

"New produce safety rules aim to prevent illness outbreaks" by Mary Clare Jalonick Associated Press  November 14, 2015

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration wants you to eat your fruits and vegetables. They also want the produce to be safe.

But not the fish.

Long-awaited rules issued by the Food and Drug Administration Friday are designed to help prevent large-scale, deadly outbreaks of foodborne illness like those linked to fresh spinach, cantaloupes, cucumbers, and other foods over the last decade.

That means making sure workers are trained to wash their hands, irrigation water is monitored for harmful bacteria, and animals do not leave droppings in fields.

Just lost my appetite.

The rules will phase in over the next several years and give the FDA sweeping new oversight over how food is grown on farms.

This is what the local farmers and alternative media feared.

The majority of farmers and food manufacturers already follow good safety practices, but the rules are intended to give greater focus on prevention in a system that has been largely reactive after large outbreaks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 48 million people — or 1 in 6 people in the United States — are sickened each year from foodborne diseases, and an estimated 3,000 people die.

The Obama administration has said it doesn’t want people to eat fewer fruits and vegetables because of safety concerns.... 

Like they really care about your health.


RelatedObama nominates FDA’s No. 2 official to lead agency

"Dr. Robert Califf, President Barack Obama’s nominee to lead the Food and Drug Administration, defended his acceptance of drug industry funding Tuesday and promised never to lower the agency’s safety standards. But those promises weren’t good enough for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Democratic presidential candidate, who told Califf he wouldn’t support him because the nation needs an “aggressive” FDA commissioner and “I’m not hearing that.” In testimony at his Senate confirmation hearing, Califf, who came to FDA earlier this year after a long career at Duke University, where he helped found the university’s clinical research center, acknowledged that pharmaceutical companies funded many studies he oversaw. But he insisted that none of them were allowed to alter or hide the results. Senator Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, the Republican who chairs the committee, said Califf had been through an exhaustive vetting process to make sure he had no conflicts of interest."

That proves he's independent even if he is a cover-up artist. (something Alexander the pedophile procurer can appreciate).

Also see: 

Hamburg For Breakfast
Hamburg For Supper

Liz Warren had him for lunch.

Think I'll skip the fish and get a sub instead:

"Ex-Subway pitchman gets 15-year sentence" by Rick Callahan Associated Press  November 20, 2015

INDIANAPOLIS — Former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle was sentenced to more than 15 years in prison on Thursday for trading in child pornography and having sex with underage prostitutes, with the judge describing his ‘‘perversion and lawlessness’’ as ‘‘extreme.’

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt disregarded prosecutors’ recommendation that Fogle get 12½ years behind bars, opting for a stiffer term of 15 years, 8 months in prison. She could have sentenced him to up to 50 years.

In explaining her sentence, the federal judge noted how fortunate Fogle was to land his lucrative deal to be the face of Subway after he lost more than 200 pounds in college, partly by eating the chain’s sandwiches.

‘‘What a gift, to have such a professional windfall fall in your lap,’’ she said. But Pratt said Fogle blew the chance he’d been given by living a double life and pointed out that the crimes he committed weren’t victimless.

‘‘The level of perversion and lawlessness exhibited by Mr. Fogle is extreme,’’ Pratt said....

Fogle’s lawyers called John Bradford, a professor of forensic psychiatry at the University of Ottawa in Canada, to testify at Thursday’s hearing.

Speaking by phone, Bradford said he analyzed Fogle on Aug. 17 and concluded that Fogle suffers from hypersexuality, mild pedophilia, and alcohol abuse and dependency.

He said he took Fogle’s sexual history, including his sexual interests and tested him to determine what images caused Fogle to be sexually aroused. He said Fogle also told him that he had ‘‘a fairly extensive history’’ of using prostitutes for sex. Under cross-examination, Bradford said Fogle admitted to paying a minimum of about $12,000 a year for sex.

Bradford said Fogle told him he had engaged in sex with minors of 16 and 17 years of age, referring to two teenage prostitutes Fogle had admitted paying for sex, and said that he had a sexual interest in teenagers.

‘‘He started viewing pornography in college and had a fairly extensive collection of pornography in college,’’ Bradford said.

Bradford said Fogle apparently had a compulsive eating disorder before he lost all of the weight that led to him becoming the face of Subway, and that his hypersexuality seemed to develop shortly after he shed the extra pounds.

He also said Fogle, whose wife filed for divorce on the day he agreed to plead guilty, admitted that he occasionally fantasized about children. ‘‘His main interest was in young females and some interest in adolescent males.’’

Bradford said he concluded that Fogle suffered from ‘‘mild pedophilia.’’

Maybe not.


Well, I'm going Christmas shopping so have a Happy Thanksgiving, readers.

Average cost of Thanksgiving meal expected to rise

I will just have to skip it then.

NIH to end backing for invasive research on chimpsThe Boston Globe - 16 hours ago
The National Institutes of Health says it will end its support for invasive research on chimpanzees and retire the 50 chimps that it had set aside ..."

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That didn't make the rewritten Globe menu, huh? 

Animal rights activists who have fought for the release of chimpanzees from federal institutions for years called the news a victory. “We have moved on beyond the time when research on chimpanzees was considered essential.”

Other e$$entials from which we have moved on:

Best Buy’s shares decline after sales fall short of estimates

Revenue slid, raising doubts about its turnaround bid and the health of the broader electronics industry. The company sees US consumer electronics demand continuing to weaken, stoking fears about a category that used to be a solid performer during the holidays. Both Target Corp. and Walmart Stores Inc. also reported disappointing sales of gadgets and other technology this week.

This during an alleged recovery and dropping unemployment!

Insurer drags down health stocks

US Economy Is Collapsing – Americans Are Out Of Money

Not everyone:

Jobs abound for workers with technology, math, people skills

Will the fur fly when you get dumped?

NDU: Takeda gets FDA approval for multiple myeloma pill