As the Washington Post noted in 2017, the fish are created to be exclusively female as well as sterile, though the process is not entirely effective, and AquaBounty's Prince Edward Island facility is surrounded by salt water, where it believes the eggs can not survive. "As was determined during the FDA's 2015 review, this fish is safe to eat, the genetic construct added to the fish's genome is safe for the animal, and the manufacturer's claim that it reaches a growth marker important to the aquaculture industry more rapidly than its non-GE farm-raised Atlantic salmon counterpart is confirmed", Gottlieb said in a statement.
Congress said rules on how genetically modified food is labeled had to be implemented first.
A type of salmon that has been genetically modified to grow quickly is one step closer to the market, thanks to the US Food and Drug Administration's decision to lift restrictions on the fish's entry into the country. AquaBounty's modifications use DNA from other fish to grow salmon at a faster rate, raising concerns about contamination.
But in 2016, Congress said the salmon could not be sold in the United States until the FDA finalized labeling guidelines to inform consumers the product was genetically engineered.
In 2015, its salmon became the first genetically modified animal approved by the FDA for human consumption.More news: Lucky Streak: Virginia Woman Wins Lottery 30 Times in One Day
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The FDA will now permit importation of AquaAdvantage Salmon eggs, produced by AquaBounty, to the company's facility in IN to be raised into salmon for food, CNNreported.
According to the FDA, it complied with the guideline by blocking modified salmon from entering the U.S. However, after Congress enacted the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard relating to food labels in December, the FDA has chose to deactivate the import alert.
"AquAdvantage Salmon eggs can now be imported to the company's contained grow-out facility in Indiana", Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), says in a statement.
In the announcement Friday, the FDA said Congress mandated that the U.S. Department of Agriculture set standards for disclosing whether a food is bioengineered, and the FDA no longer had the authority to issue labeling guidance on the topic.
The move comes despite a pending lawsuit filed by a coalition of consumer, environmental and fishing groups that challenged the FDA's approval of the fish. AquaBounty made its first sale of AquAdvantage salmon in summer 2017 - in Canada, 10,000 pounds at $5.30 a pound. The fish is already available in limited qualities on the market in Canada, where labelling is discretionary and up to grocers, the Post added. The company has said they expect final certifications for their Albany facility in the coming weeks. However, they're also bred to be female and sterile, theoretically eliminating he possibility that they'll breed with wild salmon.