The World’s First GMO Salmon is Coming to America

On March 8, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) lifted its ban on the import of the genetically modified AquAdvantage salmon created by AquaBounty Technologies. The FDA initially approved this GMO for human consumption in 2015, but Congress required the FDA to halt imports of the fish until appropriate GMO labeling guidelines could be established.

The FDA announced that this congressional mandate has been fulfilled through the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard (NBFDS), which requires the labeling of some GMOs at the federal level. AquAdvantage salmon is explicitly included in the USDA’s List of Bioengineered Foods. Now that GMO salmon will be labeled in the US, the FDA has given the go-ahead to import, raise, and sell GMO salmon.

AquaBounty hopes to have its GMO salmon on the market as soon as 2020. Since compliance with the NBFDS does not become mandatory until 2022, it is unclear whether AquaBounty would choose to label its salmon in the interim. This means it is possible that GMO salmon could be sold in the US without a GMO disclosure for two years. The Non-GMO Project will continue to monitor this situation as it develops.