One particular genetically modified salmon is on the verge of successfully navigating the treacherous regulatory waters of the FDA. The agency just issued a draft environmental assessment of the genetically engineered salmon in which they asserted that the salmon “would not have a significant impact on the US environment.” The agency also concluded the salmon to be “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon.” If all goes as expected, the salmon could be available for consumers by late next year.
The genetically modified salmon are produced by AquaBounty Technologies, based in Maynard, Massachusetts. Their AquAdvantage salmon are Atlantic salmon that combine a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon and a control gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout that cranks out the growth hormone. The result is that the AquAdvantage salmon grow faster, cutting the time to reach market weight by about half – 18 months compared instead of three years required by normal salmon. Despite the accelerated growth rate, the resultant salmon don’t grow to be any larger than their wild counterparts.<img class="size-full wp-image-4460" alt="FDA Approval For Genetically Modified Salmon That Grow Super Fast<!–nextpage–>01″ src=”http://www.etupdates.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/FDA-Approval-For-Genetically-Modified-Salmon-That-Grow-Super-Fast-01.jpg” width=”660″ height=”413″ /> FDA Approval For Genetically Modified Salmon That Grow Super Fast
AquaBounty Technologies have sought FDA approval for about 17 years. The FDA had previously determined that the salmon were safe to eat but had yet to rule on whether or not they were safe for the environment. The current draft assessment will be posted on the FDA website for the next 60 days over which time the public is invited to voice concerns over the salmon. Approval is expected to follow the open comment period.
The FDA decision has infuriated some environmental and consumer groups. Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the advocacy group Center for Food Safety that opposes farm biotechnology, calls the agency’s decision “premature and misguided.” He said in a statement that “the G.E. salmon has no socially redeeming value. It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment.” The group’s statement goes on to say that the FDA’s decision ignores the recommendations of more than 40 members of Congress for more rigorous reviews of the environmental and health effects of the salmon and near 400,000 comments from the public urging the FDA to reject the application.
A major concern among opponents is the risk that the AquAdvantage salmon could escape into th