Wednesday, January 9, 2013

"They Actually Eat That:" Glowing Sushi.

Let's be perfectly honest: glowing sushi probably would have made an O.K. bio-art entry, too. Sushi is undeniably edible art, and the creators are, well, creative with it. Glowing sushi, native to this site, combines food and art. It could have gone on either column.

But what really tipped the scales? I could not believe people were actually eating GloFish. I've seen people eat all sorts of gross food, and although I know over half of our food is GMO in America, I never thought of eating GloFish. There are several reasons.

The first one is actually a big problem with eating fish in general: we humans like big fish. With the exceptions of smelts, sardines, and herring (possibly in sour cream...but hopefully not), a lot of the fish humans eat are on the large side. Salmon, tuna, and many other commercial fish (notably not tilapia and basa) are mid-large fish that eat other fish. This is actually pretty bad from an ecological point of view.

To put things in perspective, the land ecosystem equivalent of eating salmon and tuna would be eating snakes and other small predators. This means that bioaccumulation is in effect: any trace poisons in the prey get accumulated in the predators. It's actually beneficial to eat smaller fish, but we avoid them for cultural reasons.

The other? GloFish are the most blatant example of GMO's ever. People are becoming more and more aware of genetically-engineered food. How would they sell this? 

That said, back to glowing sushi. As the site says, GloFish started as lab fish; they weren't meant to be pets. The idea of glowing sushi takes things one step further by using "pet" fish as food fish. Freezing the fish does not denature the glowing protein; cooking it would. Sushi is a happy medium. I still wondered how they would mince such a small fish.

It turns out that they grind the zebrafish into a fine paste, then use the paste as an additional flavoring rather than the main meat of the sushi. What an extremely creative way to use small fish! If it tastes good, so much the better. Still not sure about glowing mouse meat; that one I would have to try.

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