Farmed Fish to be Fed GM Tomatoes Containing Bacterial Gene

Farm-raised salmon and trout may soon be fed tomatoes that were genetically modified with a bacterial gene.

 

Why? 

 

Salmon and trout living in the wild eat foods, like crustaceans and insects, that naturally contain pigments.  Those pigments turn their flesh pink or red. Farm-raised fish, on the other hand, don’t have access to those natural sources of food.  Instead, they are often fed dry pellets that can contain a wide variety of ingredients, including: soy, corn, canola oil, poultry, and antibiotics.

Consequently, the flesh of farm-raised fish can be pale pink, white, or even gray.  So, they are often fed dyes to make the fish look like wild-caught fish.  The dyes are commonly derived from petroleum or more “natural” sources like algae or pulverized crustaceans.

But, now there’s a new option – a “natural” dye from genetically modified tomatoes.

 

How?

 

Tomatoes naturally produce carotenoids, which give them a red color.  But, the concentration wasn’t high enough to be used as a dye in fish food.  So, scientist added bacterial DNA (associated with ketocarotenoid production) to a tomato, forcing it to produce more of the colorful compounds.  But, the level of the coloring agent still wasn’t high enough.  So, that genetically modified tomato was crossed with a tomato that is very high in beta-carotene.  The result was a genetically modified tomato that produced high levels of the desired colorful compounds.

The genetically modified tomatoes were grown and freeze-dried in the United Kingdom and then shipped to Germany where they were turned into a powder and added to the feed for farmed trout.

 

What You Can Do:

1. Choose wild caught varieties of fish.

2. If you choose to eat farm-raised fish, ask which chemicals were used to color the flesh.

 

Sources:

1. http://www.isaaa.org/kc/cropbiotechupdate/article/default.asp?ID=16584

2. https://www.aquaculturenorthamerica.com/research/survey-identifies-antibiotics-in-farm-raised-seafood-1559

3. https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2017/09/07/antibiotic-resistance-in-fish-farms-is-passed-on-from-fish-food

4. http://time.com/4790794/farmed-salmon-pink/

5. https://qz.com/358811/heres-why-your-farmed-salmon-has-color-added-to-it/

6. https://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/2016/11/10/everything-you-should-know-about-salmon-farming_a_21603450/

7. http://www.fao.org/fishery/affris/species-profiles/atlantic-salmon/feed-production/en/

8. https://www.hakaimagazine.com/news/genetically-modified-tomatoes-give-fish-a-futuristic-hue/

9. https://mailchi.mp/3b824926970b/gm-tomatoes-give-fish-a-futuristic-hue?e=04229fd834

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