GMO Salmon Approved for Sale in the U.S.

After years of review, the Food and Drug Administration has given its final approval to the first genetically modified animal for human consumption, AquaBounty’s controversial AquAdvantage salmon.

The salmon has been engineered by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty Technologies to reach market weight in about half of the time as conventional salmon. The modified salmon contains genes from another salmon species, the Chinook salmon, along with genes from a fish called the ocean pout. The salmon will be raised in land-based hatcheries in Canada and Panama. None will be raised in the U.S.

Because the FDA has deemed the GMO salmon as nutritious as non-GMO salmon, the fish will not require special labeling to alert customers to its genetically altered DNA.

AquaBounty Chief Executive Ronald Stotish said the approval is "a game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats," Reuters reported.

Read more about GMO salmon

But for years, consumer and environmental health advocacy groups have been pushing against the deregulation of the AquAdvantage fish citing the unknown health risks to both humans and marine ecosystems. Research has found that if escaped, the GMO fish could breed with natural fish in the wild leading to unknown repercussions.

“The decision to approve GMO salmon without a mandatory disclosure is yet another example of how FDA’s outdated policy keeps consumers in the dark,” Scott Faber, executive director of Just Label It, a pro-GMO labeling advocacy group, said in a statement. “Consumers will have no way of knowing whether the salmon they are buying comes from nature or comes from a lab. It makes sense to give consumers the right to know and to choose whether this fish, or any other food that contains GMO ingredients, is right for their dinner table.”

Already, numerous supermarket chains have vowed not to sell the genetically modified salmon. Chains that have pledged not to carry the fish include Kroger, Safeway, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s. Costco has said it would carry the GMO salmon and let its customers make the decision whether or not to purchase it. 

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Image via merelymel13

By Jill Ettinger| November 19, 2015
Categories:  Eat

About the Author

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a freelance journalist and marketing specialist primarily focused on the organic and natural industries, she bridges her love for changing the food system with her lifelong passion for writing and connecting people in their shared values. You can connect with Jill on Twitter and Instagram.

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