WASHINGTON — In a controversial and potentially groundbreaking decision, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has 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 an 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, use of genetic engineering is already highly controversial among environmental groups, fishermen and even competing aquaculture operations, who have expressed concern about the impact that these GE fish might have on other species, should they escape into the wild. And, consumer surveys conducted during the past decade repeatedly indicated that the vast majority of shoppers feel that genetically engineered foods should be labeled as such.
The fish are currently produced in land-based, double-barricaded aquaculture tanks to ensure genetic isolation.