tv Ali Velshi on Target Al Jazeera December 6, 2015 2:30pm-3:01pm EST
eden. john hendon, al jazeera, the triangle republic of the congo. well, there is more on everything we are covering right here, comment, analysis, video on demand including the latest on all of our top stories aljazeera.com. government. u of the s food and drug administration has sparked a new debate about genetically modified food. in particular frankenfish that salmon produced by a company is just as safe for humans to eat as regular
salmon. they grow to full size in as little time as normal salmon. i'm going to have more on what this all means for traditional fisherman in a moment. you should know that some of the nations biggest and best known food retailers are already saying no thanks to genetically salmon. they include groger and target whole foods and cosko and that's one sign that gmos have as much to do with money and fear as it does scientific evidence. most major scientific groups say gmos are safe. but most americans don't buy that. a food research survey say the major thought g much o foods are unsafe.
you wonder how many, of the 80% of the food contains contains genetically modified ingredients. most consumers want to know if the food they're buying contains gmo. the labels now contain that they do not have them. that's a voluntary martin o'malley made by companies trying to inform consumers and/or cash in on anti gmo sentiment. on the other side companies that products include gmos do not have an obligation to disclose that. that's because fda says such products are not different from their non-engineered counterparts. that brings me back to frankenfish and consumers who fear there is something fishy about it. the companies won't have to disclose that its genes have been engineered. that is one issue raised by the first genetically
altered animal heading our way. >> reporter: these fish are as fresh and wild as you will find in any shop. king salmon caught off the coast of a larks ska. there could be competition in the future. i think in the pacific north-west where ground zero salmon company, we would have a hard time selling such fish to the public. >> reporter: aqua bowdy technologies has been working on this concept for 20 years, using the fish farms. the company claims its man made sterile modified salmon grow to maturity twice as fast as normal maybe in the coscos, the big box retail organizations there may be a place for that. you have to address feeding everybody that has a price point >> reporter: this center for
veterinry medicines, analysis has been made of aqua advantaged salmon and determined they have met the requirements for approval. including that food from the fish is safe to eat. genetically modified products have been parliament of our food chain for years, mostly in the form of grains and vegetableables. this salmon is the first product approved by the fda but there's no regulation for this salmon to be labelled as genetically modified. if they're planning to compete with these, they're set to be up against gmo. it could be a battle too. i think it's bad news. i think it's just another way to cheat mother nature for higher profit, big money i'm not an organic guy, but i don't like gmos.
i'm not sure. i probably, if i was offered some, i would try it. >> reporter: the company expects it will be several years before their fish with a tweaked dna will make it to market now correspondent allon from seattle. how do you explain the response from retailers? are they bowing to consumer fear or maintain the profit margins that they have on the higher priced non-gmo sam monday? >> reporter: i think it's a combination of both. you will notice that some of those retailers are saying we're making this decision nor now. they might not rule it out in the future, but there's a certain amount of pressure from the public and environmental groups to put a stop to gmos on the market and to demand labelling et cetera. we've seen labelling requirement initiatives go gown to oregan and washington. reat a tailers are saying they're not going to do this and
they will all reexamine their position later if they can make a few bucks as retailers always do. is there any evidence that farmed fish bring down salmon. it is an expensive fish. do we have any sense that prices are coming down as a result of this? >> reporter: i have no idea about the impact on the price, but i can tell you that if all the atlantic asalmon eaten in this country, 95% of them are farm raised and imported from the big markets, chile scotland, finland. people have been eating farm raised atlantic salmon in large numbers for a long time. we will see. a fish that can grow in 18 months instead of three years can be brought to market cheaper and faster, you would assume that that's going to have a price print that's going to be attractive to people selling the
fish and buying them. lunching towards a-- lurching to the future, we might not have the choice of having line caught or farm raised or nonraised salmon. we might end up being thank for the fish we think the fish come from the supermarket. you probably have a better tie to nature. the gmo debate out there, or across this country where people say just tell me, let me know whether these are gmo or not. what's the push back against that?
but necessity have been defeated. people are concerned. there may be a growing concern, but so far there hasn't been an absolute demand that these things be labelled. in the case of the so-called franken fish the company is not required to label them, but they are sending out guidelines saying it can be done voluntarily if the company wants to do it or they franchise out the process to others and they're the ones who are bringing them to market. they could voluntarily eau label them as such and there are guidelines that are being released for that. there will be a public comment taken by the fda and a lot of anti gmo folks will get in touch with them thank you for that. coming up commercial fishermen in california say franken fish could escape their tank and
and talking about frankenfish. it is as safe or as safe as regular salmon. the fda saying the company producing the salmon can only raise the animals in land based tanks in canada and panama. they say they won't be able to bretey in the unlikely even that they escape-- breed. among the groups not satisfied with the fda assurances is the california based golden gate salmon association. it is a coalition of companies that rely on wild salmon. the group says genetically engineered salmon poses a threat to wild salmon and 91.4 billion dollar salmon engineer. john mcmanus joins me. thank you so much for being with us. it took 20 years of looking at
switched to shall permanent lip on. they gobble everything in sight and what they want to gobble would be the same food that would be needed by local wild salmon. just for starters explain that to me. you're talking about what kind of food? you're arguing that it's less efficient to feed these salmon than the way normal salmon grow?
with all farmed salmon it takes a whole lot of forage fish to produce the food whereas wild salmon are more efficient. if you want to feed the masses, let's talk about going out and sustainably harvesting our saal man and herron stocks and use that as human food. it's far more efficient than taking vast volumes of forged fish out of the ocean, reducing it to fish farm food and distribute willing to the salmon one of the things you pointed out is that you're faking exception-- taking exception with farmed salmon. this is one bring too far for you. you represent an organization that of people who fish wild salmon on the pacific. none of this works for you. this is more bad than normal farmed salmon. it is, and it's also basically starting down a slippery slope of genetically
modified animals. in saal man happens to be the first that has now been approved for human consumption. i wouldn't want to eat the thing, and we're out fishing off california and other coasts, we're producing lots of wild salmon that are great food and we feel like the consumer probably would prefer to have that if they're given the choice they're never not going to be given the choice. they can always choose wild salmon over farmed salmon over genetically modified salmon, assuming they get to know. i can tell farm salmon from wild salmon and i can't tell except for the price. you know wild salmon is a premium product and people buy it as they like it. necessity like it for a reason. it tastes better too. i would say-- they like it for a reason. some of
our salmon stocks, you can bring them to market very close to the price of some of the farmed finish. so there's a lot of good product available and, again, if this stuff is labelled, which we think it should be. the consumer can make their own choice, but i don't want to understate the fact that we see the ge saal man monday as a potential threat-- salmon. if they get into the wild, it would be bad news for wild salmon. these things are many times larger. it's like going - the wild salmon going up against giants that are competing in the same part of the eco system these are going to be farmed in canada and panama. by the time they get here they're dead. i think that what we know right now is they've been approved for production in canada and in panama. we don't know where they're going to go after that.
my understanding is that in the data and documents that the company has presented to the federal government, they have considered a fish that is 100 grams about 6 inches long. this is not the fish going to market they're growing somewhere. you're saying they will come to the u.s. and potentially growing them here?
their net pens are out in the waters. they have failed in every country i hear your scenario. it is a better movie than it is a news report. the fact is they're saying there's are going to be sterile salmon. i you say the process is not universal but you would have to have an escapee finish to get out there to cause damage to wild stocks. that's fair. it's not our studies that say 5%. up to 5% would remain able to reproduce. that's data submitted to the federal government thanks very much for sharing the discussion with me. it is an important one. we will get a chance to talk about why consumers don't get to know how their food is made and the labelling issue. the executive director of golden gate. that's coming up.
for years the blood of babies born in california has been collected and scened for genetic disorders. they can be sold to companies to use for research. that has some critics concerned about privacy. science and technology jake ward has the story. >> reporter: has any parpt-- as any parent can tell you the birth of a child is terrible pain and anxiety and lots of medical forms. when my kids were born, we were asked to sign a form that will allow the state to do genetic screening using a blood sample. it made a lot of sense when we looked at it. the form allows the state of california to take a pin prick of blood, au blot it and use it to screen for more than 30 potential afflictions. it's also become possible in the last decade to use that blood to sequence a baby's dna revealing
all the genetic information for a doctor or scientist to see. that is stored here in richard - richmond. your database offers the information of maybe a few thousand people at most. this place has the information of pretty much everyone born in california since 1983. that is millions of people's information. those samples are available to more than parents and state health on workers. every state has a screening program like this. they make these available to private companies whi. the department of public health did not respond for a request. they are deidentified and passed along to kilometres as anonymous data. it is so unique that it is possible to use online
information to crass-reference them and identify individuals. the resale practice is so alarming to some that a state assembly man introduced a bill requiring written consent from parents for indefinite tore age. it failed to pass. it is an incredible resource. >> reporter: dr michael sc hrngs neider has used the california database to investigate childhood disease. all of us have diseases that run in our family and by sequencing people's dna we hope to predict that. you need data from a lot of people to understand that. >> reporter: he says my kids stand to benefit more from being part of the database than being otherwise these people when they of diseases, the parents don't care about privacy. they want to solve their child, find out what's wrong with them and possibly it will lead to a treatment >> reporter: the program allows
me as a parent to have my kids' data destroyed, but researchers are hoping i won't do that because the code of our bodies can help bring more healthy children into the world now, jake. are privacy advocates going too far? clearly this is being put to some good. is there a really chance it's going to be connected to a person? >> reporter: we're sort of living in a time where we have not seen anyone do anything nefariousdna information. you could reverse identify d.n.a. and link it to individuals just by using on line information. they took five anonymous donors of dna. they came you were 45 names connected to those samples. there are ways to reverse identify people. what purpose would somebody put that to? would there be a
practice to discriminate or would would your dating life go out the window. there has been done a project in which was genetic samples taken from a database and experiment entirely on the genes of twins, which is valuable. not just a couple of them. ten thousand or more twins. the balance here is really not clear yet it does seem surprising that california is selling this data to do what the scientist did. it's one thing to be allowed for research. does the selling of the data make it another matter?
research, research that is accelerated very, very quickly by access to genetic information and reselling that to private companies. it's a very grey area. it may have scientific value, but maybe not thanks for that. that is our show for today. i'm vim. thank you for joining-- alley very well i'm ali velshi. >> we're here to fully get into the nuances of everything that's going on, not just in this country, but around the world. >> what, as if there were no cameras here, would be the best solution? >> this goes to the heart of the argument. >> to tell you the stories that others won't cover. how big do you see this getting? getting the news from the people who are affected. >> people need to demand reform... >> we're here to provide the analysis... the context... and the reporting that allows you to make sense of your world. >> ali velshi on target.
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