Wednesday, May 20, 2009

GM Salmon Coming Soon

From Oliver Moore, writing for the Globe & Mail:
Meet - and eat - the modified Atlantic salmon
It looks like a normal Atlantic salmon, and the fish's creators say it tastes like one, too.

But this is no ordinary fish that Aqua Bounty Technologies has produced.

Tweaked with genetic material from chinook salmon and an eel-like creature called an ocean pout, it reaches market size twice as fast as normal Atlantic salmon, the company says. Aqua Bounty has spent more than a decade chasing U.S. regulatory approval, which Food and Drug Administration officials have reportedly said is coming "soon...."

It would be a watershed moment - there are currently no genetically engineered animals approved for sale as food anywhere in the world - and opponents are predicting a wave of consumer outrage.

Approval in the U.S. would also mean GM salmon in Canada (where I live) very soon. Whether or not Health Canada specifically approves the fish for human consumption, Moore's article points out that, under international trade laws, the Canadian government may have to accept the product — unless it can prove there's a health risk, which is very unlikely.

And neither Canada nor the U.S. currently requires labelling of GM foods. No word on whether Aqua Bounty will voluntarily label the fish as GM. (I've argued before that they're not obligated to.) At one point, a couple of years ago, the company's website indicated that it was in favour of labelling — but that page has now disappeared.


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