The Canadian Government has approved the sale of genetically modified Salmon to the public, the first such GMO approval granted by Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. But issues still remain over labeling and the lack of consultation with the public on the approval…
There were bound to be issues surrounding the new Salmon. After all, it’s not only a first for Canada, but the first approval of a GMO food animal anywhere in the world.
Thew Salmon is the creation of U.S.-based biotechnology firm AquaBounty Technologies Inc. The new ‘breed’ is an Atlantic Salmon with a growth hormone gene from a western Chinook Salmon added. The idea is to promote fast maturation. The company plans to produce the eggs in PEI and then send the hatchlings to Panama to be grown into marketable fish. The ‘catch’ will be harvested in Panama and then packaged as fillets to be shipped back to Canada for sale.
Organizations such as The Ecology Action Centre and Living Oceans Society remind us that they launched a court challenge of Canadian Government’s approval, in 2013 of the idea of commercial production of GMO Fish and Fish Eggs, and that case is still before the courts.
The food advocacy groups which oppose the sale of GMO food animals say they’e not convinced that the new ‘breeds’ are safe for human consumption. At the very least, they want compulsory labeling of GMO foods so buyers know what they’re getting and can opt for non-GMO products if they wish.
Canadian Food Inspection Agency spokesperson Rola Yehia says, “Since, in this case, there is no health risk identified, there is no requirement for mandatory labeling.”
So, it looks like a standoff, for the moment. But there’s no big rush. It’ll take at least a year before AquaBounty can have marketable fish ready to harvest.
We’ll keep you posted…
~ Maggie J.