Fish and apples

Two GM foods win certain approvals

December 4, 2013

The AquaBounty salmon, a genetically modified fish, has been in the development-and-approval pipeline for a few years now. In late November, Canada announced that it would allow AquaBounty to grow GM salmon eggs for export to the company’s salmon farm in Panama.

The nonprofit Food & Water Watch recently criticized AquaBounty for lax oversight of its Panamanian operations. And, as CBC News noted, none of the company's efforts will matter unless it can get what it’s been seeking since 1995: approval to sell the fish in the U.S.

CBC News also provided a tidy summary of the fish and what it might mean:

The AquaBounty fish is an Atlantic salmon grown from eggs injected with a gene from the fast-growing Chinook salmon, and a promoter sequence from the eel-like Ocean Pout. Together, they cause the fish to bulk up in a hurry. To minimize risk of escape and inter-breeding with wild stocks, the company grows only sterile, female GM eggs, which are sent to a lab in faraway Panama to be grown out. The results are more fish in less time. Transgenic salmon reach market size much faster than wild or even farmed salmon, making them cheaper to produce, with a big profit potential.

Meanwhile, Canada has also hit the news for its role in developing the Arctic Apple, an apple that, when sliced, does not turn brown. Okanagan Specialty Fruits, a company based in British Columbia, created the fruit, but neither Canada nor the U.S. seems wild about a non-browning apple. The company recently posted on the blog Food Safety News that, in any case, its apples may have been cleared to be grown, but they’re still a long way from hitting the market.

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