STATES CHRONICLE – In a few years, it might be a mystery as to what ends up on your plate, as the FDA approved genetically modified salmon made for human consumption. It’s a decision that has been met with an uproar from multiple groups, protesting that it might pose health risks. The agency, however, claims there’s virtually no difference.
Genetically modified organisms (GMO) are generally seen with a negative perspective by most of the population. While manufacturing companies state that they’re perfectly safe, a majority opposes them due to health concerns. The same issue are met in regards to AquaBounty’s new product
The company brought out their AquAdvantage Salmon, a genetically modified version of the fish that will eat 25% less, and will grow to maturity in half the time as the regular Atlantic salmon. It will also be bred closer to restaurants and, generally anywhere people eat them, so their carbon footprint and impact on the environment will be smaller.
There have been concerns surrounding various populations of salmon around the world. Due to both overfishing and climate change, their environments have changed. The warmer temperatures are not well in line with their reproductive patterns, and their migrations have been found to start too early.
According to AquaBounty’s CEO Ronald Stotish, this is a more environmentally responsible way of providing salmon to the public, as it eliminates the traditional ocean-fish farming.
On November 19th, 2015, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially approved it as a safe product that poses no risk to human health. It also has the same texture, taste, smell, and color, so there will be virtually no difference between the genetically modified version and the regular one. According to the agency, it’s perfectly safe to eat.
In fact, the FDA has stated that the labeling will be entirely voluntary, and that they will be making the information available. So, essentially, if the retail store doesn’t want to mention that the salmon you’re purchasing is genetically modified, it won’t. Those who do want to label their products will be given FDA-approved guidelines.
However, some are already refusing the GMO, even though it’s around 2 years from hitting the market. Trader Joe’s, Target, Kroger, and Whole Foods have already expressed their intent on keeping the genetically modified salmon off their shelves.
In fact, environmental groups have claimed that there will be willing to sue the FDA for approving the “frankenfish”, even though the agency has stated that there are no biological differences. They are concerned that it would both threaten allergic reactions from people, and cause significant imbalance if it would somehow escape into the waters and breed with other salmon.
However, the FDA has assured that they have taken precautions to near “redundant levels” that it wouldn’t happen by building barriers. Furthermore, even if the fish were to escape in an unlikely situation, they are all sterile females, and would be unable to breed.
It takes 18 months for the genetically engineered salmon in facilities in Canada and Panama to grow, so it’s expected that the product will be on the market around two years from now.
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