Genetically modified salmon could soon be heading to grocery stores and dining tables in the United States as federal health regulators lift an import alert on these genetically engineered fish.
The salmon, which is also called "Frankenfish", got the nod of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2015. It was the first genetically engineered animal approved for human consumption.
The FDA deemed the AquaAdvantage Salmon as a safe food to eat, saying there is no biological difference between these salmon and their non-genetically engineered counterparts
In 2016, however, the Congress blocked the FDA from allowing the fish to be sold in the United State until it finalized the labeling guidelines that would inform consumers the product was genetically engineered. This prompted the FDA to implement an import alert that stopped genetically engineered salmon from entering the country.
The Congress also passed a law that directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture to set a national mandatory standard for disclosing bioengineered food. In December, the USDA issued the standard that required importers, manufacturers and certain retailers to have a disclosure if a particular product is bioengineered.
On Friday, the FDA said it is lifting the import alert. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that because of the 2016 law and the USDA's standard, FDA no longer has the authority to issue the labeling guidance.
Frankenfish To Be Imported And Raised For Food
It also said it now allows AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs to be imported to the company's facility in Indiana and raised into salmon for food. Gottlieb, nonetheless, assured the product is safe for consumption and will not cause a significant impact on the environment.
"As was determined during the FDA's 2015 review, this fish is safe to eat, the genetic construct added to the fish's genome is safe for the animal, and the manufacturer's claim that it reaches a growth marker important to the aquaculture industry more rapidly than its non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon counterpart is confirmed," Gottlieb said in a statement.