On Friday, the FDA lifted an import alert “that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its Indiana facility, where they would be grown before being sold as food. The agency noted the salmon has already undergone safety reviews, and that it lifted its alert because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that will require companies to disclose when a food is bioengineered.”1
Gross and no thank you.
Outgoing FDA Commissioner, Scott Gottlieb stressed that the animal was safe to eat and wouldn’t have a “significant” impact on the environment (although we’ve heard that before). “AquaBounty’s modifications use DNA from other fish to grow salmon at a faster rate, raising concerns about contamination. However, they’re also bred to be female and sterile, theoretically eliminating the possibility that they’ll breed with wild salmon.”
“AquaBounty was founded in 1991, and it has been working through years of safety reviews and regulatory hurdles to sell its fish in the United States. In 2015, its salmon became the first genetically modified animal approved by the FDA for human consumption. But the agency subsequently issued an alert that stopped the Maynard, Massachusetts-based company from importing its fish eggs until disclosure guidelines for genetically modified foods were resolved.
Called AquAdvantage, the fish is Atlantic salmon modified with DNA from other fish species to grow faster, which the company says will help feed growing demand for animal protein while reducing costs.”1
While the fish won’t be on the market immediately, it will take about 18 months for the salmon to reach their target weight, it could be soon. Depending on the current lawsuit; “an alliance of public interest, environmental and pro-fishing groups”2 is currently suing the FDA to overturn the approval on safety grounds.
Oh, and if this does clear and the fish go to market, don’t expect sellers to tell you whether or not what you are about to eat is wild or GM salmon. You’ll still need to ask questions and read labels.