Salmon

While California anxiously awaits next Tuesday’s vote that could pass Proposition 37–the measure that would require the labeling of foods containing genetically modified organisms—the countdown continues for what could be the first FDA approved GMO animal, AquaBounty’s AquAdvantage Salmon.

Last May, AquaBounty said it was confident the FDA would be approving its GMO salmon, engineered with Chinook growth hormones and ocean pout genes that enable the fish to reach market size in half the time it takes a normal salmon, after the agency determined the fish was safe to eat and did not pose any environmental risks. The approval, though, hasn’t come yet, and the company has just announced that its largest shareholders are selling their 48 percent interest to a privately-held biotech company for $6 million, roughly 12.3 cents per share.

According to an article on Sustainable Food News, AqauBounty said it has sufficient funding to maintain business through the end of the year and into early 2013. The imminent FDA approval could bring a “substantial infusion of new capital,” for the company. But environmentalists and health advocacy groups are hoping the approval does not come.

Groups including Food & Water Watch, The Center for Food Safety and Consumers Union filed a petition with the FDA urging the agency to restructure its review process, which currently considers the genetically engineered fish as a “new animal drug.”  The groups insist that more precise categorization and review processes should be involved in review, approval and regulation of any genetically modified animals to better protect human and environmental health.

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Image: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Northeast Region