AquaBounty ‘on track’ to sell GM salmon by year’s end, despite court ruling calling for more environmental impact data

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The FDA should have given more consideration to the risks genetically modified AquAdvantage salmon posed to wild populations before approving the new breed of fish, a federal judge ruled last week. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria ordered the agency to reconsider the environmental assessment for the salmon, but did not withdraw FDA approval.

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AquaBounty, the company that created and produces AquAdvantage, is still on track to start selling the genetically modified fish at the end of this year. “While we were disappointed with some of the conclusions reached in the judge’s decision regarding the environmental assessment conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), we remain confident in the robust scientific studies and review that resulted in the 2015 FDA approval,” AquaBounty President and CEO Sylvia Wulf said in an emailed statement.

Related article:  Grass genes could help scientists breed crops better adapted to drought, high temperatures

What this court ruling does accomplish is raising the bar for future GM meat approval from FDA. The approval for AquAdvantage salmon was given after long and careful study about the chances of the GM fish escaping into the wild and interfering with existing salmon populations.

But, the judge wrote, a proper and detailed assessment of the risks posed by AquAdvantage to the wild — which was not done because of the remote possibility it would occur — needs to be in the official record.

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