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A new report finds that five tons of genetically modified (GM) salmon filets have been sold in Canada. This GM salmon has also been approved in the United States, yet labeling complications have prevented any of the fish from coming to market. The study was released by AquaBounty, the company that developed the GM salmon. The fish grow faster than conventional salmon and reach market weight twice as fast, thereby reducing the production time and the amount of feed the fish consume. Eric Hallerman, an expert in fisheries and fish genetics at Virginia Tech, in the U.S., who is not affiliated with the company, said more genetically modified fish and other animals will be reaching market shelves around the world. AquaBounty last month purchased a fish farming facility in the state of Indiana; the company plans to begin sales of the GM salmon in the U.S. by the second half of 2019. Still, despite the 2015 U.S. approval of the GM salmon, its commercial sale is being held up by a section in a congressional spending bill that requires the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (the agency that regulates genetically modified animals) to finalize guidance related to labeling before imports can begin. Also complicating the issue is recently introduced legislation by Senator Lisa Murkowski, a Republican from Alaska, that would require the salmon to be labeled “genetically engineered.” Once the GM salmon make their way through the regulatory landscape, says Hallerman, there are several other genetically modified animals, including cows and goats that produce more nutritious milk and disease-resistant livestock, waiting to make their debut on market shelves.NEXT ARTICLE
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