The Food and Drug Administration is within steps of green lighting genetically modified salmon as a safe food product, which would be the first genetically altered animal approved for human consumption.
The AquAdvantage salmon, a cross on the traditional Atlantic salmon, was created using a genetic cocktail of genomes taken from other fish – a gene from the ocean pout that prevents freezing and a growth gene from the Chinook salmon for faster growing speeds than regular Atlantic salmon. Engineered by Massachusetts-based AquaBounty, the fish are claimed to be safe for people to eat by the company – and now, by the FDA. “We’ve been studying this fish for more than 10 years,” Ronald L. Stotish, the company’s president and chief executive, told The Washington Post. “In characteristics, physiology, behavior, this is an Atlantic salmon. It looks like an Atlantic salmon. It tastes like an Atlantic salmon.”
A team of FDA scientists will present the case for approval on Sept. 19, which means mutant fish could be on our plates before we know it. No word on if food suppliers, grocery stores or restaurants will be required to label genetically altered animals before they’re sold to customers.