New US Congressional bid to halt GM salmon – Fishfarmer Magazine

New US Congressional bid to halt GM salmon13 September, 2011 –

A GROUP of US Congress members have launched a new attempt to prevent genetically engineered salmon reaching the dinner plates of America.

Following a similar attempt in July, they have appealed to the US Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA)  not to approve the GM salmon because they claim not enough is known about the fish. The company behind the GM project is AquaBounty Technologies from Massachusetts which has repeatedly given a robust defence of its work.

The company has always maintained that it is perfectly safe for human consumption and could become a vital future source of healthy protein in an ever-hungry world.

Its development already has qualified approval from the US Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) which last year ordered a public consultation. Called AquaAdvantage Atlantic Salmon, it contains a growth-hormone gene from another salmon that helps it grow twice as fast as conventional farmed fish,  but like many new developments in the food industry it has become the subject of scare stories.

A few weeks ago AquaBounty was supported  by a group of 38 American food related organisations who sent a strong letter to the US Congress urging its members not to interfere in the science-based regulatory process in the Food and Drugs Administration.

The AquaBounty fish grows twice as fast as ordinary salmon. Much of the opposition comes from members of Congress representing wild salmon areas such as Alaska who have accused the company of interfering with nature.

The FDA is expected to deliver its verdict within the next few months.The debate also has certain similarities to the controversy in the Canadian province of British Columbia where environmentalists have accused salmon farms of damaging wild salmon runs on the Fraser River.