US considers genetically engineered fish for human consumption

If approved by the US Food and Drug Administration following a hearing on this issue later this month, this would be the first genetically modified animal permitted by it.

"A decision to approve hybrid Atlantic salmon as the first genetically engineered animal for human consumption is a risky precedent, a threat to Alaska wild salmon, and comes with little if any public input," US Senator Mark Begich said.

"Let’s call this genetically engineered fish for what it is: Frankenfish. Approval of genetically modified salmon, the first such hybrid to be considered for human consumption, is unprecedented, risky and a threat to the survival of wild species," he said.

The FDA is holding a hearing later this month on whether to okay a hybrid Atlantic salmon that has been modified with a Chinook salmon growth gene and an anti-freeze gene from an eel, the ocean pout.

The genetic modifications are intended to speed the growth rate of the hybrid-engineered species.

In its 180-page report, the FDA concludes that there is "no biologically relevant difference" of the engineered fish from regular Atlantic salmon.

AquAdvantage Salmon, a company, has injected growth hormones into Atlantic salmon which enable the fish to reach maturity in half the normal growth time.

"We therefore conclude the food from AquAdvantage Salmon… is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from the consumption of food from this animal," the FDA said in a 18-page document released last week.

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