FDA considering allowing ‘Frankenfish’ to sell in US

by admin on September 22, 2010

Does a fish genetically engineered to grow faster mean it's safe to eat?

That's the question the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is facing concerning the genetically engineered Atlantic salmon known as the Frankenfish.

The organism was developed by a Massachusetts-based company called AquaBounty Technologies and has sparked an outcry from some who are demanding the fish be explicitly labeled.

The "Frankenfish," as it's being called by some food safety groups, is the result of an Atlantic salmon being introduced to a growth hormone from a Chinook salmon, which was under control of a promoter from another fish species known as an Ocean Pout.

This process allowed the now-altered Atlantic salmon that grows four times as fast, but reaches the same average adult weight as non-altered Atlantic salmon.

While there is no deadline for the FDA to make their decision, many activists are voicing their concern on what could be the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption in the U.S.

On September 3 a scientific panel of experts that advises the FDA declared that the salmon was "as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon." However, before the fish can be deemed safe for sale in the U.S., the FDA must wait for a report from an advisory panel.

Yesterday, that panel heard from those for and against the potential approval for the fish. Those who were opposed to the approval of "Frakenfish" stated that the "American public has the right to know what it is consuming," Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported. The panel held two days of hearings allowing both sides to talk.

At the hearing, Aqua Bounty said the salmon possessed the same color, texture and flavor as a conventional salmon.

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