The Food and Drug Administration has lifted its import ban on a brand of genetically modified salmon after Congress blocked the fish from coming to US until the agency finalized its labeling guidelines to inform consumers about what they are eating. The FDA, after years of review, had deemed food from the AquaAdvantage Salmon safe to eat in 2015 and said there is no biological difference between these salmon and nongenetically engineered salmon.
The ban on the genetic fish, however, was imposed upon a directive given to the FDA by the U.S. Congress that asked the agency to block the import & sales of any foods that contained the fish until it issued appropriate labeling guidelines that informed consumers about the GE salmon in their food.
"The FDA no longer has the authority to issue labeling guidance on this topic; however, the FDA believes this Congressional mandate has been satisfied by the USDA's issuance of final regulations implementing that law in late 2018 because the law and regulations require that human food containing GE salmon bear labeling indicating that it is bioengineered".
"We will immediately start the process to import AquAdvantage eggs from our hatchery in Canada to begin grow out at our in facility", she said. According to reports, the FDA approval already added roughly $50 million Dollars to AquaBounty's net worth. The FDA also studied the environmental impact of the genetically engineered fish and found that it "would not cause a significant impact on the US environment".
Now passed, the salmon eggs come from a company facility in Prince Edward Island, Canada.
She said the salmon already has been sold in limited quantities in Canada, where it doesn't have to be labeled as genetically modified.
The move comes despite a pending lawsuit filed by a coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups that challenged the FDA's approval of the fish. That suit is still pending.
According to reports, the FDA just lifted the restriction on the importation of genetically modified salmon eggs.
But Kimbrell, of the Center for Food Safety, said the company's own tests have shown it's not 100 percent certain the fish would be sterile, and that concerns about it getting in the environment would grow if the company's operations were to expand. The labelling implementation won't start until 2020, and compliance won't be mandatory until 2022, the AP wrote.
Americans are one step closer to seeing genetically modified salmon at their grocery stores. "Fishermen have been fighting against the possibility of these frankenfish entering our waters and our markets for years, and we won't stop now".
"Additionally, as part of its approval, the FDA also analyzed the potential environmental impact that an approval of the AquAdvantage Salmon application would have on the US environment and published its final Environmental Assessment and Finding of No Significant Impact in November 2015". According to the AP, AquaBounty says that it expects its IN farm to soon receive final certification, and the salmon will take about 18 months to grow to a harvest size of 5kg after they arrive.