Health Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agncy have approved a genetically-modified breed of fish developed by AquaBounty Technologies Inc. of Massachusetts.
The AquAdvantage has also been approved in the United States, but can’t be imported because Congress has not provided funding to develop labeling.
The science behind the salmon involved the introduction of a growth hormone gene from Chinook salmon into the genome of Atlantic salmon. This results in a salmon which grows faster and reaches market size quicker. In every other way, the AquAdvantage salmon is identical to other farmed salmon.
Scientists with expertise in molecular biology, microbiology, toxicology, chemistry and nutrition conducted a thorough analysis of the data and the protocols provided by the applicant to ensure the validity of the results, says Health Canada on its website.
Following this assessment, it was 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, it says.
In addition, Health Canada also concluded that the AquAdvantage salmon would have no impact on allergies, and that there are no differences in the nutritional value of the AquAdvantage salmon compared to other farmed salmon available for consumption.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s approval allows byproducts of processing the salmon to be incorporated in livestock and poultry feeds.
It took Canadian officials four years to deal with AquBounty’s application for approvals. The Ottawa wheels grind slowly.