US approves sale of GM salmon
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the sale of a type of genetically modified (GM) salmon within America.
‘AquAdvantage’ GM salmon was developed by an US company called AquaBounty Technologies who altered the fish’s DNA so it grows faster than non-GM salmon.
The salmon will be sold in the US but must be raised in land-based hatchery tanks in Canada and Panama. AquaBounty Technologies are not allowed to breed or raise the salmon in the US.
AquaBounty Technologies must use multiple physical barriers to help ensure its GM salmon does not escape. The FDA has also confirmed that AquAdvantage salmon are sterile and cannot breed with other salmon in the unlikely event of an escape.
“The FDA has thoroughly analysed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty technologies regarding AquAdvantage Salmon and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat,” said Benadette Dunham, Director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.
The DNA considered that the DNA change is safe for the fish themselves and the salmon contains the same nutritional value as normal salmon.
Two guides have been written by the FDA for manufacturers who wish to voluntarily label products as containing genetically engineered or non-genetically engineered sources.
A step forward in feeding the world’s hungry?
One of Australia’s leading experts in the use of genetic technologies to improve aquaculture production, Professor Dean Jerry from James Cook University has said the approval is a significant step forward.
“The approval of GM technology to increase the productivity of animal production is a significant step forward in humanity’s grand challenge of producing protein and achieving food security for an increasing global population,” said Professor Jerry.
“With more food needed to be produced in the next 30 years than consumed throughout the last few thousand years, it is imperative that technology-driven solutions be brought to bear on food production across all sectors.”