AquaBounty gave US news channel ABC a tour of its Panama farm recently, as it waits on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to put its DNA-altered salmon on consumers’ plates.
The facility, which has been kept secret for fear of sabotage, is breeding salmon genetically altered to make it grow rapidly in the first year of its life, resulting in fish three times larger than unaltered examples.
The FDA have described the fish as “as safe as food from conventional Atlantic salmon,” but have yet to certify it for public sale.
The company — which is backed by Linnaeus Capital but subject to a buyout offer from Intrexon — will go under if FDA approval is not granted soon, which would be a setback both for its investors and for science, according to AquaBounty.
The fish is altered by adding growth genes from Chinook and eels to produce much larger fish, and if it were to be officially approved it would become the first genetically altered animal protein approved for human consumption.
However the company has attracted criticism and fears over its genetic modification, with critics describing it as ‘Frankenfish’.
For the full story, and the video report from the Panama farm, see ABC’s website.