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By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2005 (Washington D.C.)--The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved sale of genetically modified salmon – the first GMO animal to received federal approval.

The AquAdvantage salmon has been engineered to grow bigger than other salmon and in half the time.  But critics call it “Frankenfish” and contend that the health effects aren’t fully known. They also raise fears that if the fish escape breeding facilities they could impact wild salmon populations.

The FDA is not requiring labeling of the fish as genetically modified, so consumers won’t know what they’re buying.  It will take at least two years for the first GMO salmon to hit store shelves—but it might be hard to find.

In response to consumer concerns, many of the nation’s largest grocery retail chains have announced they won’t be selling GMO salmon.  Those retailers include Safeway, Vons, Trader Joe’s, Costco, Whole Foods and Kroeger’s supermarkets.

Some other retailers, such as Walmart and Albertsons, have not yet announced a decision on whether to stock GMO salmon. 

Meanwhile the Center for Food Safety has said it will sue the FDA to block sale of the fish, calling the decision a “dangerous precedent” that is “lowering the standards of safety in this country. 


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