GE Salmon Approved by Health Canada

Canadian health officials say that after rigorous scientific reviews they have decided to allow the genetically engineered salmon from AquaBounty Technologies to be sold in Canada.

Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said in a statement released this past week that they found the product as safe and nutritious for humans and livestock as conventional salmon.

The agencies said that genetically modified foods are becoming more common every day and are part of the regular diets of Canadians.

The AquAdvantage Salmon has undergone separate safety and nutrition assessments by Health Canada for use as food and by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for use as livestock feed, and both reviews found the product to be as safe and nutritious as conventional salmon, they said.

The agencies also said there would be no special labeling requirements for the product, which was created from Atlantic salmon, Pacific king salmon and Arctic Ocean eelpout.

In the US meanwhile, a coalition of environmental, consumer and commercial groups is suing the Food and Drug Administration over its approval of genetically engineered fish. Legislation introduced by Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, to label the product as such, is before Congress. The Genetically engineered Salmon Labeling Act is co-sponsored by Senators Maria Cantwell, D-WA, and Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

AquaBounty said it would produce the genetically engineered salmon eggs on Prince Edward Island, Canada, and grow them to market size in Panama, to be processed into fillets and then shipped to the US for sale.

While the product is not yet ready for market, controversy in the US commercial fishing industry and beyond has prompted some major retail outlets, including Costco stores, and numerous restaurants to say they will not sell genetically engineered fish products.