The American Food and Drug Administration has approved genetically modified Atlantic salmon for human consumption. It is the first time a living creature has been labeled as such.
Salmon grows faster
Genetically-modified crops have been around for quite a while now, but it is the first time a genetically-modified creature has been approved for human consumption.
Five years ago, the FDA deemed the genetically-modified salmon, bred with AquaBounty technology, to be as safe as a regular salmon. Its genes were modified to make it grow faster, by adding a gene from a salmon found in the Pacific into an Atlantic salmon. Now, the latter will grow all year around and only needs about half the time of a regular salmon before it can be harvested.
This particular modified salmon can now also enter the food chain and does not even need a special label as it has the same food characteristics as its non-modified version.
Consumers and stores protest
Not everyone is in favour of this decision, with particularly those opposed to genetically modified organisms in full voice. Several department store chains (including Kroger and Target) have also informed they will not include this new type of salmon in their product range.
According to AquaBounty's CEO Ronald Stotish, his technology allows to get more efficiency out of fish without having to empty the oceans. As the earth's population rises, that may become a valid reason, especially as this fish only needs to eat 1 kilogram to actually gain 1 kilogram, a better conversion than most other species. Transport costs will also drop as the fish can be produced locally as well.