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Food and Drug Administration officials are meeting to decide if genetically modified salmon will be swimming their way into the US's food system.
Advocates both for and against the approval of AquaBounty Technologies' genetically modified AquAdvantage® Salmon as a food source met in Washington yesterday and today in a series of hearings orchestrated by the FDA. Dr. Larissa Rudenko of the FDA, stated that the group has not yet made a decision, but that they "are looking for good and constructive conversation."
Because this analysis is entirely new ground for the FDA, their Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee is using the regulations they would to evaluate veterinary pharmaceuticals, rather those used for than food safety. According to Section 5 of the group's overview of this engineered Atlantic salmon, "That rDNA construct meets the definition of a 'drug' under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act" as "an article intended to alter the structure or function of the body of man or animal." Aqua Bounty Technologies, the developer, has filed a new animal drug application under those guidelines.
Today, the Food and Drug Administration heard from parties involved in the production and regulation of genetically modified salmon, developed by AquaBounty Technologies to be approved as a food source.
Speakers included AquaBounty Technologies Executive Director, President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Ron Stotish, Dr. Yonathan Zohar chair of the Department of Marine Biotechnology at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Dr. Larissa Rudenko of the FDA, who stated that the group has not yet made a decision.
Said Dr. Rudenko, "We are looking for good and constructive conversation."
If it swims like a salmon, tastes like a salmon and looks like a salmon, is it salmon?
Genetically engineered Atlantic salmon has sparked controversy, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold two public meetings this week. The meetings aim to provide information on the topic, expert opinions and a chance for the public to make comments.
AquaBounty Technologies' AquAdvantage Salmon would be the first genetically modified animal to appear in restaurants and grocery stores.
Currently, 50 percent of the salmon we eat worldwide is farmed Atlantic salmon, grown from eggs in large containment pools rather than the open ocean. The current production of farmed Atlantic salmon exceeds 2 billion pounds, according to the United Nation's Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will hold a hearing Monday as it considers whether to approve genetically engineered salmon for human consumption.
If approved it would be the first genetically modified animal permitted by the food safety agency.
A company, AquAdvantage Salmon, has injected growth hormones into Atlantic salmon that enable the fish to reach maturity in half the normal growth time, 16 to 18 months, rather than 30 months.
CNN Health has the FULL STORY
Photo: AquAdvantage® Salmon in the background; a non-GMO Atlantic salmon of the same age in the foreground.
In cooking, the process of clarification entails straining out extraneous muck from liquids so that they might be pure, clear and ideal for consumption. With this series on food terminology we're attempting to do the same.
The United States' Food and Drug Administration is in the midst of public hearings to determine if it will approve AquaBounty Technologies' application for fish spawned from genetically engineered salmon eggs to be allowed for use as food. These "AquAdvantage® Salmon" grow into full-sized fish in half the time that it would take a regular salmon, and if approved, would become the first "transgenic" or genetically engineered animals to be approved for human consumption.
It's a deeply fraught issue for both fans and foes of the technology, but stripping politics and propriety aside, here's what "genetically modified" actually means in the context of fish farming.
Rick Moonen is an acclaimed chef who runs the restaurant RM Seafood at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, and is the author of the cookbook Fish Without a Doubt: The Cook's Essential Companion. For the past 20 years, he has been one of the country's leading advocates for the sustainable seafood movement. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
I am and always will be completely against any food that has been altered genetically for human consumption. And never, in the 30-plus years I have been a restaurant chef, has one customer requested a genetically modified organism for dinner.
This is why I was alarmed to learn early this month that the Food and Drug Administration announced with "reasonable certainty" that a new genetically modified Atlantic salmon awaiting approval posed "no harm" to humans who might soon have the opportunity to buy it and eat it as though it were a fish from nature. The announcement brings this "Frankenfish" one step closer to your table.
But make no mistake. The creation of this fish is just another tactic for big industry to make bigger, faster profits with no consideration for the impact it will have on our personal health and the health of our environment and ecosystem.
CNN Opinion has the FULL STORY
Eatocracy emceed a Top Chef Masters panel at the US Open this past weekend, and in the course of this, an audience member asked for Chef Rick Moonen's thoughts on genetically modified salmon. The chef, a tireless advocate for sustainable seafood, called the practice "a nightmare," citing the havoc it could cause on an already taxed ecosystem, as well as the fish's questionable viability as an edible ingredient.
He'll share his thoughts in an upcoming CNN Opinion piece, but in the meantime, will you go with the flow or fight the tide of this as yet untested practice?