Frankenfish Salmon: Genetically Modified Fish Safe For Environment, Health Officials Say

A so-called Frankenfish salmon that grows twice as fast as normal won’t hurt the environment, federal health regulators say, leading the way for the genetically modified salmon to be ready for human consumption.

If all goes as planned, the Frankenfish salmon could become the first scientifically engineered animal approved for human consumption, The Associated Press reported. The Food and Drug Administration made an environmental assessment of the AquaAdvantage genetically modified salmon, and after a debate that stretched for years ultimately concluded that the fish “will not have any significant impacts on the quality of the human environment of the United States.”

The Frankenfish salmon had seen opposition from groups opposed to genetically modified food animals, which protested the approval of the fish created by Massachusetts-based company Aquabounty.

Now that the approval process for the Frankenfish salmon appears to be moving forward, the company applauded the government for approving the genetically modified salmon.

“We are encouraged that the environmental assessment is being released and hope the government continues the science-based regulatory process,” AquaBounty said in a statement.

Critics still contend that the Frankenfish salmon could cause human allergies and eventually decimate the natural salmon population should it escape and breed in the wild. Others feel it is ethically wrong to genetically modify an animal for human consumption.

The Frankenfish salmon has been developed at great expense to Aquabounty, the New York Daily News notes. Since its inception in 1991, the company has spent more than $67 million developing the fast-growing genetically modified salmon, leaving it with less than $1.5 million in stock and cash left and no other products in development.