Genetically modified salmon will soon make their way to your local grocery stores, as regulators have approved its commercial sale.
AquAdvantage Salmon (AAS) of AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. can now sell its genetically modified salmon after Health Canada has found that it is fit for human consumption.
The biotechnology company has also received feed safety approval from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Animal Feed Division. The agency stated that no nutrition concerns were found from feed ingredients from AAS compared with allowed salmon livestock feed in the region.
AquaBounty's CEO Ronald Stotish has gladly expressed enthusiasm about finally being able to produce and market their salmon in Canada.
"We thank the scientists in the Ministries of Health, Food Inspection and Fisheries of the Canadian government for carrying out their assessments diligently and confirming the safety of our salmon for both the consumer and the environment," Stotish said (PDF).
The company has previously received consent from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its AAS, and the recent stamp of approval from the Canadian government strengthens its claim that what it produces are nutritious for the consumers and does not pose any environmental threats.
The FDA has received backlash from environmentalists for giving the AquaBounty the approval to sell its genetically modified salmon. A lawsuit seeking to overturn the decision was filed by the Center for Food Safety, Food and Water Watch, Friends of the Earth and other environmental organizations.
Safety Analysis Of AAS
Officials of the Health Canada did a comprehensive analysis of the AAS based on the established guidelines on food safety of recombinant-DNA animals.
The assessment included the investigation of four parameters: development of AAS, comparison of nutritional quality and composition of AAS with non-modified salmons, potential toxicity and allergic reactions and the overall health of the AAS.
The officials concluded that AAS does not have any food safety issues and noted that AAS-derived fillets are as nutritious and safe as farmed Atlantic salmon.
The agency also took into consideration a 2013 report by the Fisheries and Oceans Canada that genetically modified fish products have no direct and indirect risks for human health.
Photo: Ján Sokoly | Flickr