Food and Drug Administration Approves Genetically Altered Salmon

For many years, studies and controversy, the debate has raged on regarding genetically engineered salmon and has concluded with an approval from the Food and Drug administration. This would be the nation’s first genetically altered animal, although people already eat genetically manufactured  (GM) corn, soybeans and potatoes.

AquAdvantage, produced by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty, is an Atlantic salmon that contains chromosomes from an Atlantic salmon, a growth hormone from Chinook salmon, and a gene from the eel-like ocean pout. The result is a fish that is large enough for consumption in about a year and a half, rather than the typical three years.

According to NBC news, the decision, which has taken five years, is certain to anger consumer groups who want companies to be forced to label GM foods and environmental groups who are afraid the modified fish will breed with wild fish.

“The scientific review is clear. There is no credible evidence that these fish are a risk to either human health or the environment,” Dr. William Muir, a genetics and aquaculture professor at Purdue University said in a statement

The FDA also said it would not require companies to label genetically modified food but would recommend guidelines if companies wanted to voluntarily label their products.

Several retailers have said they won’t sell the GMO fish, including Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and others.

In a report by the Smithsonian, the FDA is currently reviewing genetically engineered mosquitoes that were designed to combat illnesses such as dengue and chikungunya. Millions of the mosquitoes are already in the Cayman Islands, Panama, Malaysia and Brazil.  A fierce debate is ongoing for a proposed field trial in Key Haven, Florida.

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