AquaBounty of Waltham, Massachusetts has developed salmon that have been genetically modified to reach market size in half the time of traditional salmon. If the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) decides that the fish are fit for human consumption, it would be the first animal produced through genetic engineering to be approved.
Some environmentalists and scientists have said they see this as a watershed case, with the result likely to either pave the way for further genetic engineering of food animals or discourage its use. The VMAC will discuss the fishing and disease pressures on wild fish stocks; the genetics and farming of Atlantic salmon around the world; and the potential risks of GE fish, including possible mitigation strategies. The meeting will provide an opportunity for the public to understand how the application of our technology will enable the safe and sustainable production of high quality fish.
The FDA could not estimate how long it might take to review public comments following the meeting. After the committee convenes, the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition will lead a public hearing on September 21 to consider the legal issues around labelling of AquAvantage salmon. At the moment, foods produced through genetic modification are not required to be labelled as such in the United States, and the FDA’s position has been that labelling should not suggest or imply that GM/GE foods are in any way different from other foods.
Aporte: Andrea Martín