Eel Lurks Within Your Salmon
GMO means Genetically Modified Organisms, sometimes known as Genetically Engineered Organisms.
There are many reasons that scientists and industry seek to artificially alter the genetic code. In the case of Salmon, the introduction of eel genetics, has accelerated their growth. Salmon invested with eel genetics will grow to maturity twice as fast. That is good news for fish farmers and also for those who eat fish. More money can be made whilst the price of fish is reduced. This apparent contradiction is resolved when one realises that half the time to produce a mature fish provides a significant cost saving to the fish farmers.
Dr. Michael Hansen, Senior Scientist at "Consumers' Union" (publisher of Consumer Reports) writes that the FDA determination of no additional significant health risk is based on manipulated data and inadequate studies.
"Friends of the Earth" maintain that genetically modified salmon are unhealthy and suffer from skeletal deformities, jaw erosions, inflammation, lesions, increased susceptibility to disease, and increased mortality. They suggest that this raises serious concerns relating to human health. [although I don't know how many fish samples they have examined and what is the normal distribution of of such aberrations.]
The OU responded to a query regarding the Kashrus of GMO salmon.
Beginning of the OU email - "Salmon with eel DNA is fine as long as it has fins and scales."
"The OU is a Kosher certifying agency. Health aspects of food production are beyond our area of expertise. Issues of health and safety are the domain of the FDA and USDA, and the OU will certify products that are in compliance with FDA and USDA regulations."
"Halacha is extremely sensitive to matters of health, to the extent that *ChaMiRa SaKanta MeIsura* (life-threatening health concerns generally take precedence over Halachic restrictions). Nonetheless, as a kashrus agency, the expertise of the OU is limited to the domain of kosher supervision, and the evaluation of the health status of a product is beyond the scope of the OU's mandate. There are government agencies that are entrusted with the responsibility of insuring the safety of food items, and the OU certifies products that meet the criteria of public health and safety requirements."
OU Kosher - End of OU email
However, Brooklyn Orthodox Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Serebryanski said even though a small amount of a non-kosher food doesn't usually render a food non-kosher, it does when it becomes an intrinsic part of the food. It is prohibited to genetically engineer salmon with eel genes because such boundary crossing is prohibited by the Creator. Using genetic engineering to cross boundaries set up by the Creator creates an imbalance and distortion, disrupting a person's connection with the Creator. [We are unaware of any Halachic sources that support this consideration]