Genetically Modified Salmon Close to FDA Approval

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Aah! Genetically modified salmon? (Photo: denn/Creative Commons)

Is it safe?

Heralding a major step in a new era of nutrition, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) appears ready to approve a salmon as the first genetically modified animal safe for human consumption.

According to The Washington Post, signs from the FDA indicate willingness to clear the salmon to hit supermarket shelves.

The fish has been declared both safe to eat and nonthreatening to the environment.

On September 19, the FDA will hold a two-day panel on whether or not to approve the fish from a company called AquAdvantage. The company has modified the salmon with genes from two other fish to make it grow substantially faster, the Post story reads.

AquAdvantage has pursued a 10-year process to approve the fish for consumption.

A briefing document (pdf) for an FDA panel on the analysis of the fish, authored by FDA staff and rounded up by Discover magazine, says that officials found no threat by the fish either to consumers or to the environment, were the fish to escape into the wild population.

“We therefore conclude the food from AquAdvantage Salmon … is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the consumption of food from this animal,” the briefing reads.

On the environmental threat:

“The likelihood of escape, establishment, and spread of AquAdvantage Salmon is extremely small.”

Other genetically modified food items have been approved for use in the past—but all have been crops so far, including soy and corn.

The Post also reports that a Canadian university has asked the FDA to approve its “Enviropig,” which produces more eco-friendly manure.

Photo: denn/Creative Commons via Flickr

Feature Photo: stu_spivak/Creative Commons via Flickr

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