FDA

FDA Finally Approves Genetically Enhanced Salmon—After 24 Years

A case of scientifically absurd regulatory hyper-precaution

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AquaBountySalmon
AquaBounty

AquaAdvantage salmon are finally being allowed to come to a fishmonger near you. It took a while.

By integrating a Chinook growth hormone gene into the genome of an Atlantic salmon, AquaBounty Technologies has reduced the fish's time to market from three years to 18 months. The AquaAdvantage salmon will be raised at a land-based recirculating aquaculture systems facility located in Indiana.

AquaBounty began the process of seeking FDA approval for this product way back in 1995. The agency's bureaucrats dawdled for years, developing protocols for genetically improved animals for human consumption, building their regulations around the absurd notion that such animals are the equivalent of veterinary drugs.

The company has doggedly pursued approval despite bureaucratic hypercaution and relentless opposition from environmentalists and the wild-caught fishing industry. The FDA finally approved AquaAdvantage Salmon as safe to eat in 2015, but it imposed an import alert that prevented the company from importing its salmon eggs into the country until the U.S. Department of Agriculture finalized its biotech food labeling regulations. Those regulations were issued in December, so the FDA has now lifted its import ban.

Other countries are not being nearly as slow as the U.S. to approve genetically enhanced livestock. AquaAdvantage salmon have been available in Canada for nearly three years. And in December, Argentina approved AquaBounty's faster growing tilapia. The company used CRISPR gene editing to promote muscle growth to increase the fillet size of its tilapia. Argentine regulators sensibly ruled that their agency's more onerous approval procedures for genetically modified organisms do not apply to AquaBounty's tilapia since the gene-edited fish do not contain any foreign DNA. Our FDA, alas, has reached the opposite conclusion. Thanks to all this regulatory confusion, some American researchers are now moving their projects to develop genetically engineered livestock offshore.

Personally, I dislike the flavor of salmon. But I plan to eat an AquAdvantage fillet as soon as I can legally lay hands on one.

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53 responses to “FDA Finally Approves Genetically Enhanced Salmon—After 24 Years

  1. Poor little fishies. So dumb, slow, and delicious.

    1. Careful, these are the augments of the rivers and seas now. Soon the aquatic equivalent of Khan Noonien Singh will rise to power. Where he will offer the world order.

      Aquatic order.

    2. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
      >>>>>>>>>> http://www.payshd.com

    3. Farm-raised salmon is already disgusting enough. No need to add to that vileness, though those of less discriminating tastes are of course welcome to insult their gustatory papillaes to their heart’s desire. As for me, I will stick to the rich color and deep taste of wild-caught salmon.

      1. You want a taste of fresh, wild salmon, CMW?

        I have some for you….IN MY PANTS.

        1. http://www.popsci.com/science/…..ener-bacon

          Enviropig: A Bioengineered Pig That Excretes Fewer Pollutants

          Eco-freaks please suck my shitty bottom!!!

          Slightly bio-progressive folks have already learned to flip the bird at eco-freak with respect to GMO plants, pants-shitting. Accepting GMO food animals lags WAAAAY the hell behind! “WIKI” the enviropig, and you will find that their Canadian (Canadian-Bacon?!?!?) creators at Univ of Ottawa threw in the towel. 20,875,387 thousands of years of awaiting regulatory approval does NOT pay off! Fuck y’all, let’s just keep destroying the environment the old-fashioned way, because GMO has “cooties”!!! ‘Cause I said so!!!!

  2. I hope these salmon are not patented and, if they are, what happens if they escape and mix with salmon from other fisheries or salmon caught wild?

    This, unfortunately, is the way it is with genetically modified crops. If, for example, a farmer finds Roundup-resistant crops growing in his field, Monsanto can sue, or threaten to sue him for ‘stealing’ their intellectual property whose reproduction they failed to control.

    It should be entirely the intellectual property owner’s responsibility if his genetically modified crops, or salmon, venture outside the owner’s control and mix with that of others. As there is no practical way to do that, genetically modified organisms should not be patentable. Intellectual property pertains mainly to reproduction.

    1. This, unfortunately, is the way it is with genetically modified crops. If, for example, a farmer finds Roundup-resistant crops growing in his field, Monsanto can sue, or threaten to sue him for ‘stealing’ their intellectual property whose reproduction they failed to control.

      It should be entirely the intellectual property owner’s responsibility if his genetically modified crops, or salmon, venture outside the owner’s control and mix with that of others. As there is no practical way to do that, genetically modified organisms should not be patentable. Intellectual property pertains mainly to reproduction.

      I don’t think you’ve ever grown a single field of crops for feed or seed to have the first clue what you’re talking about.

      1. Elucidate your thoughts.
        Monsanto has sued farmers whose non-gmo crop was pollinated by a gmo field.
        The concern is valid. If a gmo-Salmon does get into the wild and reproduces…1) who owns the rights to the offspring, 2) what is the potential genetic harm to the “indigenous” salmon population?
        What if it turns out there is a genetic downside to this salmon – it could wipe out the native salmon.
        This isn’t just salmon, it’s anything that might be developed in the future.
        How much harm can a tiny Japanese beetle do to the US’s pine forest?
        African Killer Bee?? That was a cross breeding experiment that got loose – right?
        Asian Carp – what about that?
        This isn’t something you can just say “ooops” on and undo.

        1. Monsanto has sued farmers whose non-gmo crop was pollinated by a gmo field.

          This is bullshit and backwards. Organic farmers sued preemptively claiming Monsanto would sue them for copyright infringement. The only case that could be cited, a farmer took “wild” canola planted next to a Roundup ready field, collected the seeds, sprayed roundup to select for resistant plants, and then planted with the now roundup ready plants. This wasn’t an “Oops pollen drifted.” scenario because you can’t get a field of roundup ready plants in such a manner. It was a “He worked year over year to get the same product, literally taking from their customers, without paying royalties.” Monsanto was explicitly trying to control the reproduction and you’re siding with the amateur that was proliferating it.

          1. you’re misstating this. Yes – the organic farmers were the ones who sued – but that is entirely because Monsanto claims ABSOLUTE property rights over those seeds in perpetuity and thru multiple generations. Monsanto SAYS that they won’t sue except in cases where the farmer is also a Roundup/glyphosate customer – ie where the farmer copies the seed specifically for its glyphosate-resistance which I can see is a form of theft. And I believe Monsanto – for now. But they can always change their mind if it becomes more profitable to them to change their mind.

            The problem here is the absolute claim to property in eternal reproduction.

            1. you’re misstating this. Yes – the organic farmers were the ones who sued – but that is entirely because Monsanto claims ABSOLUTE property rights over those seeds in perpetuity and thru multiple generations.

              ABSOLUTE as defined by majority share and irrefutable proof. So, if you just happen to have a 50% proportion of crops that are Roundup Ready *or* don’t happen to control your, presumably non-Roundup Ready crops, using Roundup, their ABSOLUTE authority vanishes.

              The problem here is the absolute claim to property in eternal reproduction.

              The problem here is central to IP but halfwits with an agenda like to pretend that it’s GMOs and Monsanto.

              1. You are referring to cases you read in the news. There’s a lot more. Do your homework.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_legal_cases

                1. You are referring to cases you read in the news.

                  Because you got your information from working in the fields and in the court rooms?

                  It’s bullshit. Monsanto can’t be policing it’s genes during the daytime and a ravenous werewolf roaming the countryside consuming hapless farmers at night.

                  Read your own cases. Across several different court systems and different countrie, from farmers who signed contracts with Monsanto or their elevator and then thumbed their noses at them, to more questionable cases where a field wasn’t 50% contaminated and the cases were settled out of court, your portrayal of Monsanto as some Borg collective doesn’t support your other assertions and is an insult to the Borg.

        2. 2) what is the potential genetic harm to the “indigenous” salmon population?

          By “indigenous” do you mean “maintained by farming and stocking” or no?

          How much harm can a tiny Japanese beetle do to the US’s pine forest?

          Pine forests, not much. They tend to be more destructive to leafy vines and shrubs like Creepers, Grapes, and hops. They are destructive to some deciduous trees as well but pretty much don’t harm pine forests. Also, the Japanese beetle isn’t engineered.

          African Killer Bee?? That was a cross breeding experiment that got loose – right?

          I’m not sure. Given your gross ignorance about everything else so far, I’m inclined to whatever the opposite of your answer is.

          This isn’t something you can just say “ooops” on and undo.

          Like posting your idiocy for the internet to see and read?

        3. Augmented salmon may end up seaizimg power across the globe. Perhaps one day controlling over one quarter of the world’s waterways. There will be no stopping them.

        4. re: “Monsanto has sued farmers whose non-gmo crop was pollinated by a gmo field”

          No, they didn’t. They sued a farmer who claimed that’s what happened. What actually came out in court was that the farmer deliberately and willfully stole Monstanto’s intellectual property through reverse-engineering. They discovered it because the farmer was buying and spraying large quantities of Roundup – a product which would have killed off his alleged non-gmo crop. The court found it to be a classic case of intellectual property theft. Despite the media hype, that case broke no new ground at all.

          re: “what is the potential genetic harm”

          That’s an example of the Precautionary Principle Fallacy. While some risks of new things will always be unknown, so are the risks of the status quo. The precautionary principle fallacy underweights risks of the status quo while overweighting risks of the novel.

          re: African Killer Bee – No, that was not a cross-breeding experiment. The story is much more complex.
          re: Asian Carp – While introduced species are a serious problem, that is an entirely different type of problem.

          By the way, do you have the slightest clue how salmon farming is actually conducted? Your risk of one of these salmon “getting into the wild” is wildly exaggerated.

      2. I have planted crops from seeds in a plastic bag.

        That, however, is not the point. The point is that if something is your property, your are responsible for controlling it. If you crash your car into someone else’s, you are liable to get a ticket for failing to control it. There is no reason why that should not apply to intellectual property of whatever sort.

        If a book could reproduce on its own, you cannot claim someone else made copies of it without proof.

        1. I have planted crops from seeds in a plastic bag.

          I was pretty sure this was the extent of your experience, you didn’t have to convince me.

          If a book could reproduce on its own, you cannot claim someone else made copies of it without proof.

          Right. They had proof and won. Roundup ready crops don’t naturally reproduce on their own, you have to actively select for them.

          If you went into a library and made copies of every book in there, including mine, you’d end up with a book that was some vanishing percent ‘my book’ likely only a quote at best. However, if you did it multiple times, each time selectively erasing all the pages that weren’t mine, you’d end up with a book that was ~95% the same as my book. Something that, quite reasonably, constitutes plagiarism or forgery.

          1. “Something that, quite reasonably, constitutes plagiarism or forgery.”

            If he tried to pass off the work as his own, yes, it would be plagiarism or forgery. If he hummed a tune he didn’t write that’s not plagiarism of forgery either, unless he claimed to compose it.

            1. If he tried to pass off the work as his own, yes, it would be plagiarism or forgery.

              You mean like if he went to sell his grain at the local elevator and when they asked if it was genetically modified and/or what all herbicides he’s used on it and he said… ?

              1. ” and he said… ?”

                If he owned the patent, he could say pretty much whatever he wanted.

                1. If he owned the patent, he could say pretty much whatever he wanted.

                  Jesus Christ you’re dumb. Not the innocent, benign kind of just uninformed ignorance either, the beating a running engine with a hammer in order to get the witchcraft to stop kind of dumb.

                  He can’t say whatever he likes. There are safeguards that even retards like you *want* in place. He can’t have sprayed the product with agent orange 24 hrs. prior to harvest. It would be illegal whether he held the patents or not. Whether he told them or not.

                  1. ” Not the innocent, benign kind of just uninformed ignorance either, the beating a running engine with a hammer in order to get the witchcraft to stop kind of dumb.”

                    Such an elaborate metaphor. I’m flattered at the trouble you’ve gone to.

          2. There are a lot more cases a than the one you have read about.

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monsanto_legal_cases

            1. There are a lot more cases a than the one you have read about.

              Look, we already clarified that you don’t know dick about agriculture. I don’t have time to both teach you the fundamentals of that *and* hash out the details of all litigation for and against Monsanto that you are equally clueless about, let alone delve into the IP issues.

              Suffice to say, your portrayal of Monsanto as some manner of ensnaring Jinni or cognizant purveyor of Pandora’s box seeking to destroy life on Earth through genetic engineering in order to make a quick buck doesn’t hold the least bit of water. If only for the fact that if you sewed a seed with 50/50 roundup ready crops and ‘wild’ seeds and didn’t use roundup, within a generation, roundup readiness will have resolved back to background. Indicating that you can, in fact, put the genie back in the bottle.

            2. You’ve convinced me. I’m going to the store and specifically buy brands that use Monsanto tech, and enjoy them even more while you’re aware I’m helping them earn billions while you whine impotently.

    2. This, unfortunately, is the way it is with genetically modified crops. If, for example, a farmer finds Roundup-resistant crops growing in his field, Monsanto can sue, or threaten to sue him for ‘stealing’ their intellectual property whose reproduction they failed to control.

      Yeah, that turned out to be bull. The farmer in the story apparently knew that his fields had been sown with Roundup resistant crops.

      Sown–not a few Roundup resistant crops growing here and there.

      And I keep wondering how this story isn’t laughed at more–if a farm next to you used Roundup resistant seeds, and some blew into your fields, how would anyone know?

      1. And I keep wondering how this story isn’t laughed at more–if a farm next to you used Roundup resistant seeds, and some blew into your fields, how would anyone know?

        It’s even funnier than that. If you’re planting and the seeds are blowing into your neighbors’ fields, WTF are you doing planting?

        Moreover, he’s saying it’s Monsanto’s problem because they aren’t controlling reproduction but keeping Roundup seeds in the bag and making sure they get planted in the fields they’re supposed to be planted in is how you control reproduction. If somebody ends up seeding their field with a bag (or several) of your seeds, a mistake has been made and it’s not clear whether the farmer, the producer, or his seed supplier is responsible.

      2. “The farmer in the story apparently knew that his fields had been sown with Roundup resistant crops.”

        Unless he stole the plants himself, the property owner, Monsanto, is responsible for polluting his crops.

        There have been numerous cases besides the one you’re talking about, btw. Monsanto has an army of lawyers that can merely threaten someone with a lawsuit if he doesn’t start buying their seed.

        1. w: You are likely referring to notorious seed patent infringer Percy Schmeiser. His allegedly “contaminated” crop was 95 percent Roundup Ready. The Canadian courts ruled that he was guilty.

          All farmers purchasing seeds from biotech companies voluntarily sign contracts promising not to save and replant seeds. If a farmer does not want to use biotech seeds, they can buy conventional seeds and plant those.

          As I note in my book, The End of Doom:
          Given the hullabaloo spread by activists, one might be forgiven for thinking that big biotech companies are suing farmers all of the time. That’s not so. In fact, the vast majority of farmers in the United States keep their promise not to save seeds from crop varieties they purchase from biotech companies. Consider Monsanto’s record. The company sells its seeds to about 250,000 American farmers every year. Between 1997 and 2012, Monsanto filed only 145 lawsuits over seed patents, of which only 9 actually went to trial. Monsanto won each case at trial. An additional 700 or so cases have been settled out of court.

          1. No, I am not referring to any specific case. I am saying that regardless of how Roundup-resistant crops got into his farm it is

            ENTIRELY MONSTANTO’S RESPONSIBILITY

            unless they can prove that the farmer deliberately went in and stole the other farmer’s crops.

            Current (bad) law says that it is the farmer’s responsibility to make sure Roundup-resistant crops don’t get in his field or that he doesn’t use them.

            I am saying the farmer who finds Roundup-resistant crops growing in his field does not have

            ONE IOTA OF RESPONSIBILITY

            for them unless he stole them. That’s the way the law works with other kinds of property (non-intellectual property).

            1. ENTIRELY MONSTANTO’S RESPONSIBILITY

              So, which is it? They’re responsible for the very wind which could possibly carry their product’s genes as little as a few feet or they’re overbearing sue-happy monsters who only happen to target the few cases where it’s pretty obvious to the various courts and litigating bodies that the defendants were actively and knowingly using *Monsanto’s pesticide product* and thumbing their noses at Monsanto?

              They can’t be recklessly uncontroling and dangerously overbearing simultaneously unless you’re just expressing an opinion as to how you think they should be managed.

              1. *Monsanto’s pesticide product*

                Sorry, herbicide product.

              2. If Monsanto claims it as their property, YES. It is their responsibility, not the recipient farmer’s.

    3. what happens if they escape and mix with salmon from other fisheries or salmon caught wild?

      The AquaAdvantage salmon will be raised at a land-based recirculating aquaculture systems facility located in Indiana. What the hell kind of escape are they going to mount??

      1. And from Bailey, downthread:

        In addition, AquaAdvantage salmon are triploid and therefore sterile.

        1. Too many people think Jurassic Park and other Hollywood thriller and horror movies are firmly grounded in science. Nuclear power and radiation fall victim to the same Hollywood-induced hysteria that has no basis in reality

  3. Personally, I dislike the flavor of salmon. But I plan to eat an AquAdvantage fillet as soon as I can legally lay hands on one.

    Let AquaBounty (or whomever) know. I worked in an aquaculture lab as an undergrad, a good portion of fish’s flavor comes from their diet.

  4. The wheels of fish justice turn slowly.

    1. Are those wheels from their bicycles?

  5. OT: Columbus Vice cop facing federal charges.

    http://www.nbc4i.com/news/loca…..1840158973

  6. The existing farmed fish model has become an unsustainable mess. We are pretending that we can solve overfishing but all we are doing is spreading the overfishing to not-yet-overfished species in order to feed those species to the farmed fish. Genetically modifying those fish doesn’t do a damn thing except make that mess more profitable and make it more difficult more consumers to even figure out which farms/brands/fish are part of the problem and which are part of the solution.

    And the farmed fish are not even wildly comparable nutritionally to the wild fish – farmed v wild salmon

    1. J: In this case, the AquaBounty fish are raised on land and eat 25 percent less feed to get to market size. Land-based production allays any concerns that some folks may have with respect to the fish escaping into the wild. In addition, AquaAdvantage salmon are triploid and therefore sterile.

      I will also point out that AquabBounty has now developed a genetically enhanced tilapia. Tilapia are not carnivorous.

      1. Well hopefully they market that tilapia more than the salmon. Cuz the consumer prefers salmon, thinks tilapia is garbage fish, and doesn’t really understand what’s gonna happen when we vacuum up all the schooling forage fish for fish meal. So far they’ve only crashed regionally – but to date, they don’t recover at all.

      2. People like Ron Bailey never ask why.

        Why does a genetically engineered fish eat 25% less feed to get to market size?

        To Bailey its magic. There cannot possibly be any bad consequences.
        Asian Carp introduction into USA

        The U.S. Has a $275 Million Plan to Stop Asian Carp Invasion
        $275 million to STOP a mistake because some people did not consider the consequences.

    2. The existing farmed fish model has become an unsustainable mess.

      To which single farmed fish model are you referring? Is it like the industrial farming model that somehow gets applied across all breeds of livestock and crops even when one has little-to-nothing to do with the others?

  7. Enhanced? What happened to genetically modified? Is that the term the corporate press releases are pushing these days?

    Anyway, we seem to have come full circle. I’m reading a book called “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by merry prankster Ken Kesey. The message of the book is decidedly Libertarian and uses the salmon as a symbol of freedom. Narrator Chief ‘Broom’ Bromden grew up with the salmon in his childhood home beside some waterfall in north west USA. Organizing the fishing expedition is the high point for patient R P McMurphy, and after catching a few salmon, it’s all down hill for him. Incidentally I was surprised to learn recently that exhausted salmon can only swim upstream due to their tacking, holding their bodies stiff like a sail and angling up against the wind, so to speak.

    I fear the next time salmon are honoured in a great work of literature, it won’t be freedom they’ll be representing. Caged salmon drugged to the gills waiting for the slaughter, they more closely resemble those poor chronic patients drooling and pissing themselves in a state facility far from the ocean, farther still from their spawning grounds.

    1. m: Enchance: to improve the quality, amount, or strength of something

      FWIW, I am the one who chose to call the salmon genetically enhanced.

      1. And these salmon are unquestionably an improvement over the old fashioned ones.

  8. You guys the gene is in Chinook salmon, it’s already in existence rofl, they just added it to Atlantic salmon. Dying with laughter, this is hardly even close to amazing genetic engineering. I remember them saying oh we have yet to evaluate this GMO for protein allergen potential when the gene already exists in Chinook salmon rofl..

    1. Science and tech can be great. If you consider any bad consequences and determine that you can live with them.

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