WASHINGTON — In a controversial decision, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last week submitted a document supporting the commercial production of a genetically engineered salmon meant for human consumption, according to a report by Talkingpointsmemo.com. If approved by the White House's Office of Management and Budget, the salmon would become the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption by the FDA.
Engineered by AquaBounty Technologies, the AquAdvantage salmon includes genes from Pacific Chinook salmon, Atlantic salmon and ocean pout fish. The company hopes that the GE fish will appeal to aquaculture operations, because it grows about twice as fast as regular salmon. However, genetic engineering is controversial among environmental groups and some competing aquaculture operations, which have expressed concern about the impact that these GE fish could have on other species should they escape into the wild.
In general, American consumers have gradually become more accepting of genetically modified foods, as GMO crops have become more common; however, surveys typically indicate that shoppers want any genetically engineered foods to be labeled as such. The fish are currently produced in land-based, double-barricaded aquaculture tanks to ensure genetic isolation.