Organic Consumers Association

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Giant Salmon Will Be First GM Animal Available for Eating

Usually Atlantic salmon do not grow during the winter and take three years to fully mature.

But by implanting genetic material from an eel-like species called ocean pout that grows all year round, US scientists have managed to make the fish grow to full size in 18 months.

They hope that the sterile GM salmon can offer an efficient and safe way to breed salmon in fish farms, so that the wild fish can be left in the oceans.

US watchdog the Food and Drug Administration is currently considering whether the GM Atlantic salmon, called AquAdvantage, is safe to eat. The fish could be on supermarket shelves within a year.

But environmental campaigners question whether the GM material is safe for humans to consume and fear the sterile salmon will mutate in the wild and be able to breed.

At the moment only GM crops like corn or soy are available for human consumption. Also the Daily Telegraph revealed recently that most animal products available in supermarkets, like meat, eggs or dairy, are from livestock fed GM.

But despite the creation of a GM mouse as early as the 1980s, the idea of eating modified animals does not appeal to the public.

AquaBounty, the Massachusetts company behind the GM salmon, say the fish will be sterile and therefore poses no risk to the wild.

The AquAdvantage would also be a much more energy efficient way to produce a nutritional food source, they claim. 

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