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Genetically Modified Salmon Nearly Ready for Supermarkets

Genetically modified salmon is nearly ready for supermarkets.  AquaBounty Technologies, a Waltham, Massachusetts based business, has completed five of the seven steps required by the Food and Drug Administration to be able to sell genetically modified salmon in supermarkets across the United States.  AquaBounty's salmon grows twice the normal rate of other salmon due to a "growth hormone gene derived from a Chinook salmon" and a "genetic on-switch from the ocean pout, distant relative of the salmon" per reports in the NY Times.  Aquabounty C.E.O. Ronald L. Stotish stated in an interview with the NY Times that Aquabounty's salmon is "indistinguishable from non-engineered Atlantic salmon in terms of taste, color, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, proteins, and other nutrients."


Aquabounty will also be able to distribute eggs from the genetically modified salmon to fish farms throughout the nation. Aquabounty maintains that fish bred from the genetically modified salmon eggs are sterile to prevent breeding with native salmon.  Peter Melchet of the Soil Association, stated his concerns in the Daily Mirror.  Melchet said "Once you have bombarded an animal with other genes, the DNA is unstable, and there is no guarantee these fish will remain sterile."  


The FDA will determine the safety of Aquabounty's fish in upcoming months.  Though it may take three years before Aquabounty's salmon is readily available, public opinion polls vary significantly in terms of response to the genetically modified fish.  Consumers, environmental groups, and public safety organizations are alarmingly wary of genetically modified foods. 


 

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