A first: Genetically modified salmon now sold in Canada
Monday, August 7, 2017, 9:41 PM - For the first time in Canada, genetically modified fish are being sold for the purpose of human consumption.
An American company, AquaBounty Technologies, first developed the modified salmon to naturally produce a growth hormone in 1989. After almost 25 years of government assessment, it was approved for sale as food by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2015, and by Health Canada in May 2016. The journal Nature reports that 4.5 tonnes have now been purchased in Canada.
According to the company’s website, AquaAdvantage salmon will help ease a worldwide need for animal protein, by allowing the fish to grow more quickly. They also say that growing the fish eggs in on-land facilities is advantageous for the environment.
Below: Are genetically modified foods safe?
Nature reports that the company plans to construct a new facility in Prince Edward Island, a decision that has been approved by local government.
It currently takes about seven to 10 years for a genetically modified food to be assessed by Health Canada under the Food and Drugs Act.
In their relatively short lifespan, genetically modified organisms (GMO) have become a contentious topic among consumers.
The GMO proponents say that biotechnology helps reduce the growing crop yield shortage in Canada, and helps create organisms that are resistant to disease and insects. Many experts have also suggested that the plants will help reduce worldwide hunger, and bring down prices for consumers.
Adversaries generally are concerned that consuming GMOs are not a healthy food source for humans, and worry that the invasion of GMO crops or animals in the natural ecosystem could threaten natural biodiversity for non-GMO wildlife.
According to Eat Right Ontario, about 85 genetically modified foods have been approved for sale in Canada since 1994. The four main genetically modified crops in Canada are canola, soybean, corn, and sugar beat.
A 2016 report by Canada’s parliamentary Committee on Agricultural and Agri-Food reported that the fish was being reviewed for public consumption in Brazil and Argentina.