After a near twenty year struggle, AquAdvantage salmon has been approved for sale in the US by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The first genetically modified (GM) fish on sale in the US for human consumption.
Reported in Science News from the journal Science (to name but one), this fast growing salmon will be coming to grocery shops soon in the US. It has been modified to express a higher level of growth hormone allowing it to grow almost twice as fast as usual. But before we get our backs up about how dangerous GM is let’s look at some of the facts of this case.
The website of AquAdvantage Technologies states that they will grow the fish in a closed system away from the sea. This would mean that there should be no chance of the fish escaping and out competing their unmodified cousins in the sea, a common fear among the anti GM crowd. They also state that as the fish are kept in a controlled environment they are able to virtually eliminate “the risk of pollutants or contaminants harming marine ecosystems”.
The waste is also collected and can be processed by hydroponic farmers or valorised in some other way. I would also think that as the environment is carefully controlled then the risk of contaminants being present in the fish should be almost nonexistent?
One thing that I think can only cause problems though is that according to the article on the Science News website it would not have to be labelled as GM and can simply be labelled as farmed Atlantic salmon. I know that across the pond acceptance of GM is a lot higher than here, but I think consumers should still be told what they are eating so that they can make an informed choice of whether or not they want to eat it.
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