[img_assist|nid=194725|title=|desc=|link=none|align=left|width=300|height=156]Sep. 20, 2010 (GreenAnswers) – Over the next few days, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will be conducting hearings regarding a proposal to allow genetically modified salmon to be sold to U.S. consumers.
Termed “FrankenFish” by its critics, the genetically modified salmon eggs are produced by a company called AquaBounty Technologies. The eggs include a hormone gene that cause the salmon to grow twice as quickly as regular salmon. AquaBounty is hoping the FDA will approve this product for sale and distribution throughout the country.
However, critics contend that the potential health and environmental risks are too great to justify allowing the genetically modified fish to be produced and sold. Among many theorized risks, one obvious concern is that the engineered fish escape into the wild and breed with regular fish. The effects the resulting offspring could have on native fisheries could be devastating.
The FDA panel will be making four determinations, including: whether genetic engineering is safe for the fish; whether there is reasonable certainty the fish are safe to consume; whether the data really does indicate the fish grow faster; and the potential environmental impacts the production of these fish could pose.
If the genetically modified salmon is approved, it would mark the first time that American’s are fed genetically modified animals. Until now, the only genetically modified foods approved for human consumption in the U.S. have been soybeans and corn. Approval of genetically modified salmon could usher in a new era of genetically engineered super animals on American’s dinner plates.