The FDA gave approval nod for genetically modified salmon dubbed AquAdvantage and finally reviews to be safe for human consumption.
The FDA approval comes after almost two decades since the project has been presented for the first time. Regulatory hurdles in addition to lack of political will to implement it have taken their toll on the timeliness of the project. Still today, environmental advocacy groups and some consumer groups are disapproving of the FDA’s ok to the genetically modified salmon.
Nonetheless, the proponents of AquAdvantage maintain that the salmon is not only safe for human consumption and hold the same nutritional value as Atlantic salmon or farmed salmon, but it also solves a host of environmental problems.
Among the proponents of the recently approved genetically modified salmon, William Muir with the Purdue University, explained that at a closer look, the genetically modified salmon is really a good deal and shouldn’t be treated in such a hostile manner. The FDA gave approval nod for genetically modified salmon indicating a strongly positive response that AquAdvantage would do well on the market.
Nonetheless, two major food suppliers in the U.S. have announced that the genetically modified salmon will not be part of their offerings. Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are the first to make the announcement.
While maintaining the nutritional value of farmed salmon, the genetically modified AquAdvantage should help bring about a host of environmental perks. Firstly, it doesn’t require as much food to grow. Compared to farmed salmon, the genetically modified salmon only requires 80 percent of the nourishment. Compared to growing a pound of beef which requires 8 pounds of feed, growing one pound of AquAdvantage requires one pound of food.
Secondly, the global food demand is increasing proportionally with the global population. Particularly in communities dependent on fishing and fish as a main food source, this is already becoming a problem. Taking into consideration that 90 percent of the fish stocks at a global level are either affected by overfishing or are at full capacity, the genetically modified salmon could become part of a global solution.
Without depending on ocean-dependant specially designed farming spots, the genetically modified salmon can be grown in on-land tanks in warehouses for instances. This allows easy access to local communities to growing their own stock in line with the demand. Which in turn cuts both ocean pollution and emissions from transport by a significant percentage.
At the same time, according to Muir, there is no risk that the genetically modified salmon will contaminate wild salmon populations as its fitness is so reduced it wouldn’t last in the ocean or river habitat for more than a generation even if it were to reach it.
Photo Credits: Flickr