Genetically modified salmon gets approval in U.S.

gmo salmon

Regular salmon may soon be joined in grocery cases by genetically engineered fish (shown). The FDA has approved genetically modified salmon for human consumption.

AquaBounty Technologies

Salmon genetically engineered to grow bigger and faster than normal were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the agency announced November 19.

The fish are the first genetically engineered animals cleared for human consumption anywhere in the world. The FDA determined that the fish are nutritious and safe to eat, pose no substantial environmental threat, and that the fast growth rate doesn’t harm the salmon.

AquaBounty Technologies, based in Maynard, Mass., will be allowed to farm the salmon only at two inland facilities in Canada and Panama. The company may voluntarily label its salmon as genetically engineered, but the FDA’s draft guidelines don’t require any labeling.

Some grocery store chains have pledged not to sell the genetically modified fish. 

Tina Hesman Saey

Tina Hesman Saey is the senior staff writer and reports on molecular biology. She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s degree in science journalism from Boston University.

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