FDA Undecided on Genetically Modified Salmon

A federal advisory panel met on Monday to discuss the regulatory future of genetically modified animals for food.

A genetically modified strain of Atlantic salmon was at the center of the discussion held by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The fish, developed by Massachusetts company Aqua Bounty, contains a gene from Chinook salmon, which causes the fish to eat year-round, instead of just seasonally. As a result, it grows to market weight in half the time of regular salmon.

The issue is similar to that of genetically modified crops–opposed by organic farmer and some environmental groups for threatening the continuation of un-modified varieties. 

Aqua Bounty is seeking federal approval to sell the fish in the U.S. to fish farmers. According to a Reuters report, FDA staff have said the genetically modified fish poses little threat to the environment or people who eat them. 

But consumer advocate and environmental groups are petitionin the government to block the sale of the fish. After 11 hours of deliberation, FDA’s panelists did not hand down a clear verdict on whether the salmon was safe to eat, and they did not say when a final decision will be given.

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