The first genetically engineered animals cleared for human consumption anywhere on Earth will be available for purchase in the U.S.
The FDA announced on Thursday that it had approved a salmon that has been designed to grow bigger and swim faster than similar, unenhanced salmon by way of a piece of DNA called a Recombinant DNA construct — which combines genetic material from several sources, creating sequences that wouldn’t normally appear in the genome.
AquaBounty Technologies, based in Maynard, Massachusetts, will be allowed to farm the salmon at two inland facilities in Canada and Panama, locations that have created approved measures to prevent the escape of eggs and fish — although interbreeding between a natural salmon and an AquaBounty salmon is impossible as the engineered fish are reproductively sterile.
Bernadette Dunham, D.V.M., Ph.D., director of the FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine explains that the FDA has “thoroughly analyzed and evaluated the data and information submitted by AquaBounty Technologies…and determined that they have met the regulatory requirements for approval, including that food from the fish is safe to eat.”
Additionally, it should be noted that people who would rather not eat these fish may not know the salmon has been genetically engineered, as the FDA also states, “substantiation that the products or ingredients have not been genetically engineered is not necessary at this time…”
CNBC has confirmed that the Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, and Kroger retail chains have pledged not to carry and sell the fish.