FDA lifts import ban for genetically modified salmon eggs

FDA removes restrictions on genetically modified salmon

"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".

"However, the FDA believes this Congressional mandate has been satisfied by the USDA's issuance of final regulations implementing that law in late 2018 because the law and regulations require that human food containing GE [genetically engineered] salmon bear labeling indicating that it is bioengineered", Gottlieb said in a statement.

The Food and Drug Administration said it lifted its import ban that had prevented AquaBounty from importing its salmon eggs to its IN facility, where they would be grown before being sold as food.

However, in 2016, Congress later blocked the FDA from allowing the fish to be sold in the USA until it finalized its labeling guidelines alerting customers that the fish has been altered.

In context: The U.S. has long used genetically modified (GM) plant crops in its food chains, but so far has had no GM animals on sale for human consumption.

Genetically modified salmon are one step closer to reaching the dinner plates of American consumers.

Congress said rules on how genetically modified food is labeled had to be implemented first.

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Congress in 2016 directed the FDA not to allow food into the USA that contained genetically engineered salmon until the agency implemented superior labeling guidelines for informing people that certain foods contained the altered salmon.

As the Associated Press reported, however, a "coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups" filed a lawsuit asking for the FDA's approval of the fish to be overturned.

Additionally, that year, Congress also passed a law that directed the US Department of Agriculture to set a national mandatory standard for disclosing bioengineered foods.

AquaBounty, the company behind the GM salmon breed they have named "AquAdvantage", produce the eggs in their research and development facility in Canada.

"We will immediately start the process to import AquAdvantage eggs from our hatchery in Canada to begin grow out at our in facility", said Wulf. The fish is already available in limited qualities on the market in Canada, where labelling is discretionary and up to grocers, the Post added.

While the salmon are bred to be sterile females, AquaBounty's own research suggests that it would be hard to guarantee all salmon are indeed sterile, he tells the AP, and there are concerns about the engineered fish breeding with wild salmon.

Wulf told AP she doesn't expect the pending lawsuit filed by a coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups to affect the company's US plans.

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