Login  /  Register  | 3 premium articles left before you must register.

FDA: 'Frankenfish' won't harm environment

Published December 22. 2012 4:00AM
Genetically modified salmon get closer to federal approval

Washington - Federal health regulators say a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as normal is unlikely to harm the environment, clearing the way for the first approval of a scientifically engineered animal for human consumption.

The Food and Drug Administration on Friday released its environmental assessment of the AquaAdvantage salmon, a faster-growing fish which has been subject to a contentious, yearslong debate at the agency. The document concludes that the fish "will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States." Regulators also said that the fish is unlikely to harm populations of natural salmon, a key concern for environmental activists.

The FDA will take comments from the public on its report for 60 days before making it final.

The FDA said more than two years ago that the fish appears to be safe to eat, but the agency had taken no public action since then. Executives for the company behind the fish, Maynard, Mass.-based Aquabounty, speculated that the government was delaying action on their application due to push-back from groups who oppose genetically modified food animals.

Experts view the release of the environmental report as the final step before approval.

If FDA regulators clear the salmon, as expected, it would be the first scientifically altered animal approved for food anywhere in the world.

Critics call the modified salmon a "frankenfish." They worry that it could cause human allergies and the eventual decimation of the natural salmon population if it escapes and breeds in the wild.

AquaBounty has maintained that the fish is safe and that there are several safeguards against environmental problems. The fish would be bred female and sterile, though a very small percentage might still be able to breed. The company said the potential for escape is low.

News by Town

Most Recent Poll
The NRA has proposed stationing an armed officer in every U.S. school as a way to defend against mass shootings like the one at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown. Do you support the NRA's proposal?
Yes, it's a sensible plan. An armed officer would serve as a deterrent and he or she would be able to stop an active gunman before more lives were lost.
41%
No, I'm disappointed the NRA didn't come out with any serious suggestions.
40%
Armed officers would help, but we also need stronger gun control laws.
19%
Number of votes: 2072

No current items found