FDA finally approves the AquAdvantage Atlantic Salmon

An AquAdvantage salmon, top, next to control salmon same ageAP/Guardian

❝Based on sound science and a comprehensive review, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is taking several important steps today regarding food from genetically engineered plants and animals, including the first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for food, AquAdvantage Salmon. The agency is also issuing two guidances for manufacturers who wish to voluntarily label their products as containing ingredients from GE or non-GE sources: a draft guidance on labeling foods derived from Atlantic salmon, and a final guidance on foods derived from GE plants.❞

❝The FDA has approved AquaBounty Technologies’ application for AquAdvantage Salmon, an Atlantic salmon that reaches market size more quickly than non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon. The FDA regulates GE animals under the new animal drug provisions of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, because the recombinant DNA construct introduced into the animal meets the definition of a drug. In this case, the rDNA construct introduces a trait that makes the AquAdvantage Salmon grow faster.

❝“The FDA has thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty Technologies regarding AquAdvantage Salmon and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat,” said Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine.❞

❝Based on a comprehensive analysis of the scientific evidence, the FDA determined that AquAdvantage Salmon meets the statutory requirements for safety and effectiveness under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Among the requirements the sponsor had to meet are that food from the fish is safe to eat; the rDNA construct (the piece of DNA that makes the salmon grow faster) is safe for the fish itself; and the AquAdvantage Salmon meets the sponsor’s claim about faster growth. In addition, the FDA determined that food from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe to eat and as nutritious as food from other non-GE Atlantic salmon and that there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.❞


The article goes on into regulatory language, labeling [voluntary], etc.. Approval is years overdue and I’m glad the folks at AquAdvantage had the buck$ and heart to stick with the problems of being first on the street with something new and advanced. Guaranteed to burn the hair of every Luddite worth their subscription to Rodale Press publications.

However, real, peer-reviewed science takes forever. When confronting what passed for courage in the FDA, longer becomes interminable. Yes, I’m looking forward to preparing my favorite recipe for tea-smoked salmon with filets from one of these critters. I won’t name which of my kin or non-kin in the Great White North has already taste-tested these salmon; but, he couldn’t tell the difference between the real deal caught in the North Atlantic and the fishies from a test tank.

Of course, my family has only been catching and eating Atlantic Salmon this side of the pond for a couple of centuries. What do we know?

8 thoughts on “FDA finally approves the AquAdvantage Atlantic Salmon

  1. Charles says:

    Are Domestic and Wild Salmon Still the Same Species? http://nautil.us/issue/30/identity/is-farmed-salmon-really-salmon “More than 90 percent of all the adult Atlantic salmon now on the planet are thought to be in salmon farms and almost all Atlantic salmon available in the United States at your local market is from a farm. This rise of the farmed salmon, and the decline of native ones, is casting the definition of species into doubt and in the process tweaking our relationship to nature. In a 1998 paper, Mart Gross, a conservation biologist, called for the recognition of a new creature, Salmo domesticus.
    “Domesticated salmon are about as different from wild salmon as dogs are from wolves,” says Gross, a professor at the University of Toronto. Like dogs, these salmon now depend on humans for habitat and food, and we manage their evolution—even to the point of genetically modifying them to grow faster.
    Salmon species aren’t the first to undergo this identity shift at our hands, but the transformation from a wild to domestic species has seldom happened as quickly. We are watching this one unfold within a single human lifetime. To Gross and other scientists, the rapid transformation epitomizes our Anthropocene epoch, where nature can no longer be separated from humans.”

  2. Pescadero says:

    Thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon were accidentally released into the waters between Anacortes and the San Juan Islands (Washington state), and officials are asking people to catch as many as possible. Tribal fishers, concerned about native salmon populations, call the accident “a devastation.” http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/oops-after-accidental-release-of-atlantic-salmon-fisherman-being-told-catch-as-many-as-you-want/ The fish are about 10 pounds each. No one knows yet how many escaped from the floating pen, but the net had some 3 million pounds of fish in it when it imploded about 4 p.m. Saturday according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
    The Atlantic salmon net pen facilities in the Puget Sound were already controversial, with an anti-farming protest set for next month as Cooke Aquaculture proposes to open a new facility in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, within the migratory path of local salmon. “For three decades, Atlantic salmon net pens have been quietly operating in Puget Sound,” Kurt Beardslee, executive director of the Wild Fish Conservancy, says in a release, according to a blog hosted by The Spokesman-Review. “Now that the industry is poised to dramatically expand its operation in the Sound, the public is learning about the destructive record of net pens, locally and around the world.” http://www.spokesman.com/blogs/outdoors/2017/aug/22/eclipse-caused-tides-unleash-net-pen-atlantic-salmon-bellingham-bay/ See also Puget Soundkeeper Alliance statement http://www.pugetsoundkeeper.org/2017/08/22/aquaculture-operation-releases-300000-atlantic-salmon-puget-sound/

  3. Update says:

    “Three months after the fish farm collapse, guess where Atlantic salmon are being found” http://www.bellinghamherald.com/news/local/article189182914.html Of 305,000 fish in the farm before it collapsed, about 102,000 remained unaccounted for as of Oct. 1, according to catch totals from various groups. The Wild Fish Conservancy and others, including the Skagit Watershed Council, believe the farm-raised fish could compete with Pacific salmon for habitat and food, and could spread disease to or interbreed with the wild fish.
    The Skagit River produces a huge part of all of Puget Sound’s native fish, including 60% of it’s wild Chinook Salmon. It’s the only river in Puget Sound that produces substantial runs of all of native salmon and trout species, and also one of the main strongholds of the endangered bull trout strongholds in the U.S. http://www.skagitwatershed.org/news/fish-of-the-skagit-river-and-how-they-are-doing/

  4. Yngvarr says:

    Chilean fishermen were working Thursday to recover hundreds of thousands of salmon that escaped from a fish farm as environmentalists warned of possible risks if they are eaten by humans, the government said. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Chile-Fishermen-Pursue-Escaped-Salmon-Over-Health-Risks-20180712-0021.html
    A storm on July 6 damaged nine enclosures at Marine Harvest’s Punta Redonda Center near the southern city of Calbuco, freeing at least 600,000 salmon into the wild, the company said.
    Some of the salmon had been injected with a course of antibiotics that was incomplete at the time of their escape, making them unfit for human consumption and prompting concern by environmental groups that the fish will make it into the food chain too early.
    Earlier this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported that the overuse of antibiotics is making humans more resistant to their effects, making it difficult to overcome common infections like E. coli and pneumonia. Another extensive investigation by RAND Europe found that by 2050, the human population could be reduced by up to 444 million if growing bacterial resistance to antibiotics is not tackled soon. https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Up-to-444-Mn-Victims-of-Antibiotic-Resistance-By-2050-20141212-0045.html

  5. Update says:

    “GMO ‘Frankenfish’ salmon could be in stores as early as next year, as FDA lifts import ban” (USA TODAY 3/12/19) https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2019/03/12/gmo-frankenfish-salmon-could-hit-store-shelves-early-next-year/3134439002/ “”The FDA is committed to supporting innovation and ensuring safety in the biotechnology space, including the use of (intentional genomic alterations) in animals,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement. “We’re interested in the promise that newer technologies can have for bringing innovative products, such as these, to market while also helping to ensure they are safe and effective.”
    On March 5, 2019, Scott Gottlieb announced his resignation as Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, effective in one month. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scott_Gottlieb

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