Mmmmmm….Genetically Modified Fish

image: AquaBounty

Combining the DNA of a Chinook salmon and an Ocean pout, U.S. biotech firm AquaBounty has engineered an Atlantic salmon that grows twice as fast as farmed salmon.

And, according to the Washington Post, the FDA is poised to approve the first of these AquAdvantage® Fish to be fit for human consumption.

In a briefing document released last week, FDA staff concluded that “Food from AquAdvantage Salmon . . . is as safe to eat as food from other Atlantic salmon.”

Public meetings are scheduled for September 19-20 to present information on animal health, food safety, environmental concerns, and data supporting the claim that AquAdvantage Salmon grow faster than conventionally bred Atlantic salmon. (meeting agenda)

On September 21, the FDA will hold a public hearing at which it will present the relevant legal principles for food labeling and describe information made available prior to the hearing about AquAdvantage Salmon.

And although it will be FDA’s responsibility to determine if any special labeling is required in accordance with federal law, the hearing will offer the public an opportunity to comment on the application of the relevant food labeling principles to foods that might be made from the AquAdvantage Salmon.

Note: if you wish to make an oral presentation at this meeting, today is the last day to register.

Let’s Recap

  • The FDA is poised to approve the sale of genetically modified fish for human consumption
  • The FDA will also decide if special labeling is required

This leads me to a couple of questions.

  1. If the FDA approves the sale of AquAdvantage fish, and if the FDA decides that special labeling is not required….how will you be able to tell the difference between wild salmon, farmed salmon and genetically modified farmed salmon?
  2. What will you do? ….will you eat genetically modified fish?


Note: We should also keep in mind that  the FDA were the ones who gave the green light to factory farmed egg production, and we know how that turned out.



  1. In the movie Food Inc. they said they’re even going as far to try and teach fish how to eat corn. As long as the U.S. continues to put profits before health & wellness there are going to be plenty more silly science experiments to come.

  2. There was a report that said that the FDA is pretty unsure about the status of GM salmon that might not be as healthy as it was made to be in the beginning….needless to say, I am not a big fan of GM foods.

  3. The way of the cow.

    These fish behave differently too when released into the wild. They are not afraid of predators and will just gorge on any food. The problem is that if they live in a habitat where there are no predators they outcompete all the natural wild stock. So they are also a potentially ecological menace.

  4. I just read about it on CNN webpage. The big problem is not labeling but that they plan to relase this fish into the wild and in about 30 years, it’ll take over wild salmon completely so there will be only GM salmon after couple of decades. That’s really frightening to me…

  5. WTF. When will they stop. Sadly, I would probably quit eating fish. Unless I was certain it was wild caught.

  6. I’m fine with GMOs as long as we are very careful with them. We need them in order to support our population and consumption. We have many GMOs in terms of plants, bacteria, fungi, etc. We also specifically breed (an old version of modifying genetics) for certain aspects – now we are taking it to a new level, animal GMOs through actual DNA type changes…

    The caution for me, is the control of GMOs in nature. How will these large fish, if (when) they escape from the fish farms, affect the current populations of the animals/plants they consume, those who consume them, and their own kind… These are always things we sometimes fail to estimate and evaluate correctly. (Even when the organism isn’t a GMO!)

  7. Crossbreeding is one thing, but genetically engineering animals for human consumption is a whole new ballgame. What do these fish eat? What will happen if they are to be released into the wild – do they crossbreed and what would be the results if they do? These are just my concerns.

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