Some are calling it “frankenfish”: salmon that grows twice as fast as normal because it is genetically modified. The GM fish is at the centre of fierce debate over whether it should be sold to the public.
The Food and Drug Administration is holding hearings on the issue, with the company behind the salmon defending its creation.
Ron Stotish, the CEO of AquaBounty, said: “We hope that people will take a look at the data and understand that this is a very well researched fish. The food is safe and the food has significant benefits associated with it, both in a health standpoint for humans and an environmental standpoint for production.”
An advisory committee set up by the FDA is recommending more testing, even though they say the salmon appears to be safe. But critics are not convinced.
Wenonah Hauter from Food and Water Watch said:
“We don’t see how the FDA can assure that there is no harm based on four studies, three of which were conducted by the industry.”
Other consumer and environmental groups are also calling for a ban on GM salmon. And part of the FDA hearing is focused on the labelling of the fish.
There is already widespread use of genetically modified crops, but until now US authorities had not considered the marketing of GM animals.