The FDA is "seriously considering" approval for a new genetically engineered salmon that grows at twice the normal rate. Yes, AquAdvantage® Fish will revolutionize the way American's eat sketchy, lab grown food. Also being developed: Pigs that shit less-toxic shit.
The Food and Drug Administration is looking over data submitted by AquaBounty Technologies, the company that for a decade has been trying to gain approval for its Frankensalmon. This development will upset all sorts of people, according to a report in the New York Times:
Some consumer and environmental groups are likely to raise objections to approval. Even within the F.D.A., there has been a debate about whether the salmon should be labeled as genetically engineered (genetically engineered crops are not labeled).
The salmon's approval would help open a path for companies and academic scientists developing other genetically engineered animals, like cattle resistant to mad cow disease or pigs that could supply healthier bacon. Next in line behind the salmon for possible approval would probably be the "enviropig," developed at a Canadian university, which has less phosphorus pollution in its manure.
You don't get salmon the size of the Hindenburg," said Ronald L. Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty. "You can get to those target weights in a shorter time."
Surely the FDA will watch out for your best interests in all of this, right? Not quite.
Under a policy announced in 2008, the F.D.A. is regulating genetically engineered animals as if they were veterinary drugs and using the rules for those drugs. And applications for approval of new drugs must be kept confidential by the agency.
Critics say the drug evaluation process does not allow full assessment of the possible environmental impacts of genetically altered animals and also blocks public input.
"There is no opportunity for anyone from the outside to see the data or criticize it," said Margaret Mellon, director of the food and environment program at the Union of Concerned Scientists. When consumer groups were invited to discuss biotechnology policy with top F.D.A. officials last month, Ms. Mellon said she warned the officials that approval of the salmon would generate "a firestorm of negative response."
So you can't trust the government, but you can trust AquaBounty Technologies! The Massachusetts company is starting a seafood revolution, and states on its website that, "Our mission is to play a significant part in "The Blue Revolution" – bringing together biological sciences and molecular technology to enable an aquaculture industry capable of large-scale, efficient, and environmentally sustainable production of high quality seafood."
AquAdvantage® Fish: The name just sounds healthy! Trust in science, always.
[Image via Getty]