Food industry calls for GM salmon labelling

05th December 2013 - Fine Cut

Members of the public could soon be more in-the-know about the fish products they purchase as part of their weekly shop, as stricter rules for labelling could be rolled out in the near future.

Members of the food industry and WWF Norway have called for changes to the current system in order to make it possible for members of the public to know whether the salmon they are buying is genetically modified.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Marine Harvest have agreed that consumers should be able to identify if they are buying a product that has been genetically modified (GM), with both organisations demanding that GM salmon is labelled as such if it is sold in the US.

Changes to the way food is categorised could have significant implications for food manufacturing companies, which would have to alter labelling methods in order to avoid misleading members of the public and the possibility of prosecution.

The US FDA is currently considering the approval of AquaBounty's AquAdvantage Atlantic salmon eggs, which include a gene from the Chinook salmon that gives fish the potential to grow to market size in half the usual time.

If approved, the product would be the first of its kind from a transgenic animal request to be given the green light from the regulatory body.

Kristine Gramstad, global director of communications at Marine Harvest, said: "Salmon is established as a healthy, safe and tasty product. A possible introduction of GM salmon is controversial and might weaken the salmon brand.

"Marine Harvest does not support the introduction of GM salmon. If the GM salmon is to be approved for consumption, Marine Harvest asks for it to be specifically labelled.

"It is critical that salmon farming is produced in a way that minimise the negative impact on the environment," the expert added.

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