Will Genetically Modified Salmon Make it to Shelves in the US?

Salmon may become the first genetically modified animal that is approved for human consumption by the Obama administration.

The White House have been twiddling their thumbs for over four years on deciding whether to introduce Americans to a fast-growing, GMO salmon.

Supporters of genetically engineered fish and meat are hopeful that the FDA are able to find a market for the salmon if it does pass however, investors have become uneasy due to delays in the approval process.

It is believed that these fish can be bred free of diseases and that they can grow more efficiently, however there is a possibility of modified organisms mingling with native specifies if they escape into the wild and producing unknown effects. In 2012, the FDA stated that this unlikely. Executives of AquaBounty, a biotechnology company, maintain that there are safeguards designed to protect against this.

Society may be wondering where we draw the line. No evidence exists to suggest that foods would be unsafe, however for some there is a prominent ethical issue involved.

AquaBounty, a biotechnology company, have already invested $77 million into adding a gene from the Pacific Chinook salmon to its AquaAdvantage salmon that allows it to grow faster by producing more of a growth hormone.


gmo salmon compare

The US has a harsher regulatory environment than other countries when it comes to GMO foods. A friendlier country when it comes to GMO foods is Brazil, where the government funds some of the research into GMO foods. For this reason, a professor of animal sciences at the University of California moved his project to Brazil where he is using genetically modified goats to produce milk that flights childhood diarrhea in poor countries. Brazil is funding part of his research.

Recombinetics, a company based in Minnesota, has proposed genetically modified cattle that is born without horns and will skip the removal phase during slaughter, increasing efficiency for meat packers. This is currently in the approval process and Recombinetics CEO, Scott Fahrenkrug says as the global population increases, technologies like this are needed.

The FDA has not released to the public how many applications are in line behind the salmon. The timeline for which a decision will be made is unknown. If it is approved, it is estimated to take two years to get them in the market – if anyone agrees to sell them.

Under FDA guidelines, the fish may not have to be labeled as a GMO, which translates to consumers not being informed if they are buying the product.

When will this madness end?

About the author

Kim Logan