Genetically modified salmon finally receives FDA ok after years of regulatory and political hurdles. The FDA approval signals the genetically modified salmon is safe for human consumption and it complies with the environmental and ecological requirements the paperwork includes.
According to William Muir, researcher with the Purdue University working with the FDA to determine whether the genetically modified salmon is safe for human consumption, the data needed to approve AquAdvantage has been in the open for over a decade. Compared to farmed salmon, the genetically modified salmon delivers greater environmental advantages while also being safe for human consumption.
Genetically modified salmon finally receives FDA ok as the benefits it delivers range from cost efficiency to a large swath of environmental benefits. Firstly, AquAdvantage reaches adulthood in two years compared to farmed salmon which takes four years to reach adulthood. In addition, compared to Atlantic salmon, the newly approved genetically modified salmon requires only 80 percent of the feed amount.
Although it stands by the same nutritional requirements, food retailers in the U.S. are reluctant to putting AquAdvantage up on the shelves. Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s have announced that the genetically modified salmon will not find a place within their stores albeit both supermarkets sell genetically modified foods.
Nonetheless, the FDA approval comes against the background of an increasing world population and shifting trends in food demand and supply. Currently, 90 percent of global fish stocks are either at capacity or overfished. Which indicates that the need to act now to meet the demand by 2050 is imperative.
One way that AquAdvantage could help is through offering relatively easy access to growth. The genetically modified salmon can be grown locally in the warehouses equipped with tanks. That cuts fuel emissions required to transport Atlantic salmon for instance. In addition, this method of production cuts the environmental costs of large ocean farms which require motorboats and pens to sustain and maintain.
Cost efficiency is pinpointed by the amount of need necessary to grow one pound of the genetically modified salmon: one pound. For one pound of beef, eight pounds of feed are necessary.
As the genetically modified salmon finally receives FDA ok, environmental groups are raising questions over AquAdvantage’s safety and the effects on wild salmon populations. William Muir answered that while it is possible this salmon finds its way into the natural ocean habitat, it is certain that it can’t last due to its reduced fitness, thus critically lowering the risk of contamination or extinction of wild salmon populations.
Photo Credits: Pixabay
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