The review process being used by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to assess the safety of a faster-growing transgenic salmon fails to weigh the full effects of the fish’s widespread production, according to analysis by a Duke University-led team in a recent issue of Science.
The salmon, whose genome contains inserted genes from two other fish species, could become the first genetically modified animal approved for human consumption in the United States. The FDA held two days of hearings in September to assess the fish’s human and environmental health risks.
The concern, Duke economist Martin D. Smith, PhD, said, is that the new animal drug application process the FDA is using to review the transgenic salmon evaluates its safety only by comparing its nutritional profile to an equivalent portion of nonmodified salmon and screening it for known toxins and allergens.
Dr. Smith said such a process ignores the potential health and environmental effects of salmon production and consumption, both positive and negative, that might stem from the fish’s faster growth and less need for feed.
Market Impacts Loom Large
“These market impacts could dwarf any small differences in nutritional content,” Dr. Smith, associate professor of environmental economics at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment, said in a statement from the university.| | | Next → | Single Page