The Food and Drug Administration has ruled that genetically engineered salmon are safe to eat, paving the way for the first altered animals to eventually reach supermarket shelves.
The decision Thursday ends a five-year battle waged by AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. to get approval to produce and market its salmon that has been shown to grow much faster than non-genetically modified, farm-raised Atlantic salmon. In a statement, the Massachusetts-based biotech company welcomed the decision but didn’t say when the first batches of fish would be sold commercially.
“AquAdvantage Salmon is a game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats,” Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive officer of AquaBounty, said. “Using land-based aquaculture systems, this rich source of protein and other nutrients can be farmed close to major consumer markets in a more sustainable manner.”
In its ruling, the FDA said that AquAdvantage Salmon met the ”statutory requirements for safety and effectiveness under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act,” including that the fish is safe to eat and that the rDNA construct - the piece of DNA that makes the salmon grow faster - is safe for the fish.