Genetically Modified Salmon Soon On The Menu
After holding the hearing to determine if these fish are safe to eat, if they actually grow faster and what are the potential environmental impacts of producing such fish, the outside experts that participated to the hearings did not make a recommendation that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the genetically engineered fish for human consumption. The company that came up with the idea of the genetically modified salmon, AquaBounty Technologies, received a lot of criticism from consumer and scientific advocacy organizations at the hearings because of the genetically altered salmon eggs which include a growth hormone gene that allows them to reach maturity in about half the time it takes regular salmon to reach the same size.
Ron Stotish, the CEO of AquaBounty Technologies, declared after the hearing that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration panel members got confused because of the large amount of data and misinterpreted during the eight hours meeting. Before the hearing, the Food and Drug Administration thought that the fish are safe Kathleen Jones of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine declared that the data presented led to the conclusion that AquAdvantage salmon is Atlantic salmon, and that food processed from AquAdvantage salmon is as safe as any other food processed from regular salmon. But the opponents of the AquAdvantage salmon attended the hearing just to prevent FDA not to approve the eggs, accusing the administration that they want to take the approval decision on unreal scientific evidence. Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food and Water Watch, says that the FDA was given the analysis of only a few fish, and there is a lot of studying to be done so that they can assure the public that this product is safe to eat.
Donald Prater of the FDA‘s Center for Veterinary Medicine, the representative that visited AquaBounty Technologies to help gather data for the first Food and Drug Administration review sais that it is true that the safe test was done on some fish selected on certain characteristics, but sais that they were all comparable to normal salmon when talking about health problems. He also suggested the monitoring of the growing conditions which might cause additional health issues. The opponents of the modified salmons also raise the questions of what might happen if the fish escaped and mixed with the native fish population. The Ocean Conservancy from Washington believes that they could destroy the native salmon population, and that they could escape very easily because they would eventually grow in the same cages from where hundreds of thousands of fish escape every year.11