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AquAdvantage biotech salmon moves step closer to FDA approval


Fresh Atlantic Salmon fillets and steaks are seen for sale inside Washington, D.C.'s Eastern Market, July 31, 2009.



A genetically engineered salmon has cleared another hurdle in its bid to become the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption by the US Food and Drug Admin., Reuters reported.

The FDA announced on Friday that it had determined that AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon, engineered by AquBounty Technology to grow twice as fast as normal salmon, will have “no significant impact” on the environment, the New York Times reported.

"With respect to food safety, FDA has concluded that food from AquAdvantage salmon is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and that there is a reasonable certainty of no harm from consumption," the FDA assessment also said, according to Reuters.

The agency will gather public comments for the next 60 days, then issue its final decision, Reuters reported.

If the genetically altered salmon wins approval, fish farmers will be able to sell it at 18 months rather than three years, the New York Times reported.

According to Reuters:

The AquAdvantage salmon would be an all-female population with eggs produced in a facility on Prince Edward Island in Canada and shipped to a "grow-out facility" in Panama, where they would be reared to market size and harvested for processing.

Consumer groups and biotechnology critics greeted the FDA’s news with dismay.

“The GE salmon has no socially redeeming value,” Andrew Kimbrell, executive director of the Center for Food Safety, a group opposed to farm biotechnology, said in a statement, the New York Times reported. “It’s bad for the consumer, bad for the salmon industry and bad for the environment. FDA’s decision is premature and misguided.”

The Center for Food Safety said it is considering suing the FDA to stop it approving the salmon, Reuters reported.

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