Today marked a small victory for opponents of genetically engineered food. The FDA announced it needs more time to decide if it’s going to approve AquaBounty’s GM salmon.
After 11 hours of deliberation, FDA’s panelists did not hand down a clear verdict on whether the salmon was safe to eat, and many said Aqua Bounty’s trials could be better designed. Most panelists did say the company appeared to take appropriate steps to prevent the modified fish from escaping and possibly causing harm.
A delay in approval doesn’t mean the fight is over for GM opponents. It’s still pretty likely that the FDA will want to approve the fish, since so many FDA panelists seem to hold that the GM fish is safe.
On top of concerns about human health, there are biodiversity issues associated with this fish. The company is producing infertile animals, but even then up to 5% of the eggs could be fertile. While that might not seem like a lot, it only takes one GM salmon mating in the wild to contaminate wild salmon stocks. Since the AquAdvantage matures more quickly than wild salmon, it would propagate quickly in the wild.
What do you think? Could this delay buy time to get full environmental impact reports and possibly stop AquAdvantage from hitting the market?
Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by jmabel