GE salmon moves closer to approval?
A salmon treated with AquAdvantage Salmon (background) compared to an Atlantic salmon of the same age (foreground) Photo: Barrett & McKay/AquaBounty Technologies
America’s AquaBounty Technologies has announced that the FDA’s Environmental Assessment of its AquAdvantage Salmon treatment is due for publication, a significant part of the FDA approval process for the product.
Ron Stotish, chief executive officer, AquaBounty Technologies, said: “We are delighted that the Environmental Assessment (EA) is to be published for comment, which brings us a major step closer to approval. The revival of the science based review process is encouraging and we look forward to a successful conclusion based on the merit of the product.”
The EA will be subject to a 60 day period for public comment though. The FDA is also making its preliminary finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) available for comment – the September 2010 meeting of the Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee concluded that GM salmon is indistinguishable from other Atlantic salmon, is safe to eat and does not pose a threat to the environment.
But the FDA has not given an indication of how the process or associated timing will proceed after the conclusion of the period for public comment. This is likely to be a lengthy process because the concept of GE salmon has been met with quite a lot of scepticism and criticism from American consumers so far.
Aquabouty’s AquAdvantage Salmon product consists of Atlantic salmon eggs that contain a growth hormone gene from the Chinook salmon. This provides the fish with the potential to reach market size in half the time of conventional Atlantic salmon. Were approval of AquaBounty’s treatment to be granted, the fish can only be grown in physically contained systems at approved facilities.