by Julie Steenhuysen and Tom Polansek
U.S. health regulators on Thursday cleared the way for a type of genetically engineered salmon to be farmed for human consumption in the first-ever such approval for an animal whose DNA has been scientifically modified.
AquaBounty says its salmon can grow to market size in half the time of conventional salmon, saving time and resources. The fish is essentially Atlantic salmon with a Pacific salmon gene for faster growth and a gene from the eel-like ocean pout that promotes year-round growth.
Activist groups have expressed concerns that genetically modified foods may pose risks to the environment or public health. Several on Thursday that said they would oppose the sale of engineered salmon to the public, while some retailers said they would not carry the fish on store shelves.
Kroger Co, the nation’s largest traditional grocery chain, has “no intention of sourcing or selling genetically engineered salmon,” spokesman Keith Dailey said. Trader Joe's and Whole Foods Market Inc also confirmed that they do not intend to carry the product.
Target Corp eliminated farm-raised salmon in favor of wild-caught salmon in 2010, which spokeswoman Molly Snyder said was the first step in a long-term commitment to improving the sustainability of our seafood assortment. “We are not currently planning to offer genetically engineered salmon,” Snyder said.
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