FDA considers approving genetically modified salmon for human consumption
By Lyndsey Layton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 6, 2010; 5:16 PM
The Food and Drug Administration is poised to approve the first genetically modified animal for human consumption, a highly anticipated decision that is stirring controversy and could mark a turning point in the way American food is produced.
FDA scientists gave a boost last week to the Massachusetts company that wants federal approval to market a genetically engineered salmon, declaring that the altered salmon is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment.
“Food from AquAdvantage Salmon . . . is as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon,” the FDA staff wrote in a briefing document.
Those findings will be presented Sept. 19 to a panel of scientific experts which will advise top officials at the FDA whether to approve the altered salmon. The panel is holding two days of meetings to hear from FDA staff, the company behind AquAdvantage and the public.
AquAdvantage is an Atlantic salmon that has been given a gene from the ocean pout, an eel-like fish, which allows the salmon to grow twice as fast as a traditional Atlantic salmon. It also contains a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon.