The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday approved genetically modified salmon, the first such altered animal allowed for human consumption in the United States. The Obama administration had stalled in approving the fast-growing salmon for more than five years amid consumer concerns about eating genetically modified foods. But the agency said Thursday the fish is safe to eat.
There are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.
Because there are no material differences between an engineered and a normal salmon, the FDA says the law does not require the fish to be labeled as engineered. That means once the salmon reach stores, consumers may not even know they are eating them. AquaBounty Technologies, which developed the genetically modified salmon, says the salmon has the same flavor, texture, color and odor as the conventional fish. Under pressure from activists who oppose genetically modified foods, some retailers have pledged not to sell the salmon at all. And it’s still unclear whether the public will have an appetite for the fish.
There’s no place on our dinner plates for genetically engineered fish. We will continue to work to ensure the market — from grocery retailers to restaurants — continues to listen to the majority of consumers that don’t want to eat this poorly studied, unlabeled genetically engineered fish.