Call for GM salmon labelling

There are concerns about the negative impact on wild fish if GM salmon should escape There are concerns about the negative impact on wild fish if GM salmon should escape

In the midst of the ongoing debate in the US on the introduction of genetically modified transgenic salmon, Marine Harvest and WWF-Norway have said that if GM salmon is approved for human consumption then it must be labelled as such.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is considering approval of AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage® Atlantic (AAS) salmon eggs. These eggs include a gene from the Chinook salmon that provides the fish with the potential to grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon. This fish would be the first food from a transgenic animal application approved by the FDA.

Recently, Environment Canada decided that AAS is not harmful to the environment or human health when produced in contained facilities, bringing GM salmon one step closer to supermarket shelves.

Marine Harvest and WWF-Norway have said that with the existing labelling regime, it will be impossible for consumers to know whether the salmon they are buying is genetically modified. The two organisations believe that consumers should be able to identify if they are buying a GM product and are demanding that GM salmon is labelled if it is approved for the American market.

“Salmon is established as a healthy, safe and tasty product. A possible introduction of GM salmon is controversial and might weaken the salmon brand. Marine Harvest does not support the introduction of GM salmon. If the GM salmon is to be approved for consumption, Marine Harvest asks for it to be specifically labelled”, says Kristine Gramstad, global director communications at Marine Harvest.

Head of the marine program at WWF-Norway, Karoline Andaur, said that too little is known about the environmental impact of farming of GM salmon and that GM salmon could not be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council because transgenic fish are not permitted due to concerns about their unknown impact on wild fish.

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