"Today, we are taking another important step by deactivating a 2016 import alert that prevented genetically engineered salmon from entering the U.S. The FDA's approval of the application related to AquAdvantage Salmon followed a comprehensive analysis of the scientific evidence, which determined that the GE Atlantic salmon met the statutory requirements for safety and effectiveness under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act".
"A loophole has now been created that will allow the first genetically modified animal engineered for human consumption to enter the U.S. market: GMO Atlantic salmon".
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.
The ban on the genetic fish, however, was imposed upon a directive given to the FDA by the U.S. Congress that asked the agency to block the import & sales of any foods that contained the fish until it issued appropriate labeling guidelines that informed consumers about the GE salmon in their food.
"Instead of opening the market to high-cost, risky technology like GMO salmon - particularly in this time of weakened government oversight - we need to reinvest in protecting our wild rivers and wild fish", said Rose Marcario, CEO of the clothing company Patagonia.
FDA stated, in a press release, that it believes that the Congressional mandate was satisfied when the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued the final rule implementing the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (for more information on the final rule, see our December 20, 2018 blog). The FDA, after years of review, had deemed food from the AquaAdvantage Salmon safe to eat in 2015 and said there is no biological difference between these salmon and nongenetically engineered salmon. She said the salmon already has been sold in limited quantities in Canada, where it doesn't have to be labeled as genetically modified.
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- USA regulators on Friday gave the green light to salmon genetically modified to grow about twice as fast as normal. According to the AP, AquaBounty says that it expects its IN farm to soon receive final certification, and the salmon will take about 18 months to grow to a harvest size of 5kg after they arrive.
AquaBounty, the company behind the GM salmon breed they have named "AquAdvantage", produce the eggs in their research and development facility in Canada. An alliance of public interest, environmental and pro-fishing groups is in the midst of suing the FDA to overturn the approval on safety grounds.
The FDA said it deactivated on Friday an import alert that blocked import of the salmon. Wulf said she doesn't expect the pending lawsuit to affect the company's US plans.
The FDA found that AquaAdvantage salmon pose no risk to human health, are healthy themselves, and would have no significant impact on the environment.
While the salmon are bred to be sterile females, AquaBounty's own research suggests that it would be hard to guarantee all salmon are indeed sterile, he tells the AP, and there are concerns about the engineered fish breeding with wild salmon.