The US has delayed its decision to approve a new breed of fast-growing genetically modified (GM) salmon for human consumption. The salmon, owned by biotech company AquaBounty Technologies, has been genetically altered to grow faster than conventionally farmed salmon and would be the first GM animal allowed to be sold to and eaten by consumers. Campaigners say approval for the genetically modified salmon would carry 'great risk' and pave the way for more GM animals to enter the market
A spokesperson for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said this week that there was no timeline on a decision on the application and that a decision was likely to be months away. As well as deciding whether it is safe for human consumption the government body is also debating about whether it should be labeled as GM.
Despite the delay, campaigners say an approval for the salmon is likely, with stocks expected to be on supermarket shelves in the US by 2012.
In a briefing document published this week the FDA concluded: 'the food from AquAdvantage Salmon (the triploid ABT salmon) that is the subject of this application is as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon, and that there is a reasonably certainty of no harm from the consumption of food from this animal.'
UK campaigners said there was not enough evidence to prove 'unequivocally' that GM products have no side effects despite a Food Standards Agency (FSA) claim that GM foods are subject to 'rigorous safety assessments'.