Economy

AquaBounty cleared to export GM salmon eggs to U.S.

AquaBounty cleared to export GM salmon eggs to U.S.

A biotech trade group said the fish, which developers say grows twice as fast as as conventional Atlantic salmon on 25% less feed, will "contribute to a more sustainable food supply".

"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 [genetically engineered] salmon bear labeling indicating that it is bioengineered", Gottlieb said in a statement.

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 USA until the agency finalized its labeling guidelines to inform consumers about what they are eating.

The FDA had originally approved the salmon as human food in 2015.

According to the FDA, it complied with the guideline by blocking modified salmon from entering the U.S. However, after Congress enacted the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard relating to food labels in December, the FDA has chose to deactivate the import alert.

In 2015, AquAdvantage Salmon became the first genetically engineered animal intended for food to be approved by the FDA.

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In a statement, the FDA said the recently issued GMO food labeling from USDA supersede its authority over labels on biotech food. The agency noted the salmon has already undergone safety reviews, and that it lifted its alert because the fish would be subject to a new regulation that will require companies to disclose when a food is bioengineered.

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. But now that the FDA's alert has been "deactivated", AquaBounty will soon start importing the eggs to their growing facilities in Albany, Indiana.

What's more, the FDA said it analyzed the potential impact the genetically modified salmon would have on the environment and it found no "significant impact".

AquaBounty, the company behind the GM salmon breed they have named "AquAdvantage", produce the eggs in their research and development facility in Canada. However, they're also bred to be female and sterile, theoretically eliminating he possibility that they'll breed with wild salmon. 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.

"We think a remedy in our case would stop sale of the fish before they're allowed to be sold", George Kimbrell, a legal director for the Center for Food Safety, which is opposing the approval in court, told the AP. Wulf said she doesn't expect the pending lawsuit to affect the company's US plans.