Aqua Bounty Technologies, the company producing the salmon, first approached the FDA with the blueprint for the modified fish 15 years ago. According to a recent Discovery Health News article, this will be the first time a genetically modified animal has been deemed fit for consumption. The fish, called AquAdvantage, is bred with a gene from ocean pout and will grow twice as fast as its wild counterparts.
According to a recent CBC News article, the issue has sparked debate among pundits questioning the FDA’s decision to approve the rearing of fish for U.S. consumers in Canada and Panama. Others are worried about the potential for escaped fish to breed with wild salmon — the results of which are unpredictable.
“By approving the fish to be raised in Canada and Panama, instead of the U.S., the FDA is side-stepping a full assessment of the environmental risks,” said Jaydee Hanson, a policy analyst for the U.S.-based Center for Food Safety, as reported by CBC News. “The FDA is relying on an environmental assessment done by private consultants hired by the company. Under U.S. law, an environmental assessment requires a much less rigorous review than a full environment impact statement.”