Tuesday 7 September 2010 17.59 BST With fish stocks around the world depleted by overfishing and disrupted by climate change, farm-raised salmon stands as a viable if not entirely appetising alternative. Last Friday, though, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) took a potentially dangerous step. The agency ruled that salmon whose genes have been altered so that they grow more rapidly than their wild counterparts are safe for human consumption. In so doing, the FDA opened the door for salmon to become just another unhealthful cog in the industrial-food machine. And it may have foisted upon the public yet another cancer risk. According to a report in the New York Times, FDA scientists found that the altered fish, developed by AquaBounty Technologies, based in the Boston area, were unlikely to escape into the environment and cross-breed with native schools of Atlantic salmon. The agency also found that even though the genetically altered salmon carry elevated levels of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), a suspected carcinogen, those levels are so minute that they pose no health risk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/sep/07/gm-salmon-industrial-food-system Precautions aside, it requires considerably more than the customary level of naivety to believe wild salmon wouldn't be contaminated by their laboratory-designed cousins. If AquaBounty's progeny ever come to market, it would only be a matter of time before some unforeseen accident undid everyone's best intentions.