Following in the footsteps of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Health Canada has approved genetically modified salmon for consumption, paving the way for it to be introduced in stores and restaurants.
After spending four years assessing the salmon, whose maturation is sped up by inserting a Chinook growth hormone into an Atlantic salmon, Health Canada “determined that the changes made to the salmon did not pose a greater risk to human health than salmon currently available on the Canadian market,” the agency said in a statement on May 19.
The changes reduce the length of time it takes to bring a fish to market from 40 to 20 months, according to AquaBounty Technologies, the producer of the fish now named AquAdvantage.
“We are thrilled and grateful,” AquaBounty CEO Ronald Stotish told The Globe and Mail, linking the importance of such products to food security. “Our approval is more than just an approval to grow salmon. This opens the door now for an important technology to grow food for our future.”
While reaction has been subdued in Canada, tribes in the U.S. immediately forbid the sale or use of genetically modified salmon on their lands when the FDA made its decision last year. The Yurok Tribe, for example, passed an ordinance banning genetically engineered organisms of any kind.
The U.S. approved it last November, though many retailers said they would never buy and sell it.
AquaBounty said it will be a couple of years before the fish hits stores in Canada, The Globe and Mail reported.