Myth – The FDA is rushing through the approval of AquAdvantage® Salmon without a thorough review of the risks, both for the environment and for human health.
Fact – AquaBounty began the FDA approval process in September 1995, 19 years ago. It can hardly be described as a “rush to approval”. The Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) published data and the results of their review in a public meeting in 2010, more than three years ago. The CVM review considered safety to the animal, human food safety, and safety to the environment. The CVM concluded that AquAdvantage is as safe to eat as conventional Atlantic salmon and under the conditions of approval does not represent a risk to the environment. Opponents of the FDA process have criticized the review process, the competence of the FDA and the integrity of the Company, with no credible evidence to support their contentions.
Myth – If released accidentally, AquAdvantage® Salmon could severely endanger natural fish populations.
Fact – AquAdvantage® Salmon are all female, sterile Atlantic salmon, which will be reared in physically contained, land based systems. Our facility in Panama has additional thermal and physical barriers, which render the possibility of survival outside the facility virtually impossible. AquAdvantage will only be grown in land based contained facilities, which will be FDA inspected and approved prior to use. New research has shown AquAdvantage do not compete effectively with wild salmon, and represent a lower environmental risk than the current salmon aquaculture methods.
Myth – AquAdvantage® Salmon grow twice as fast and twice as large as natural salmon, therefore consuming them may increase human exposure to growth hormones, anti-microbial drugs, and disease.
Fact – AquAdvantage® Salmon grow faster than conventional Atlantic salmon because the regulation of their growth has been changed, nothing else. As long as they are fed adequately, they will grow year-round, rather than seasonally as wild salmon do. AquAdvantage® Salmon do not grow twice as large as natural salmon; that is just fear-mongering. The composition of AquAdvantage® Salmon is identical to conventional Atlantic salmon in every measurable way. There are no drugs or antibiotics used to produce AquAdvantage® Salmon, and because they are grown in land based, contained facilities, they are protected from disease introduction. If they should be exposed to a pathogen, because they are in a contained and controlled environment, the disease can be quickly identified, contained, and resolved. These facts are deliberately misrepresented by opponents in an attempt to create fear and anxiety in potential consumers.
Myth – AquAdvantage® Salmon could escape and breed, threatening the wild Pacific salmon fishing industry.
Fact – AquAdvantage® Salmon will only be grown in land based, contained facilities, are all female and sterile, and unable to reproduce. Moreover, it is a scientific fact that Atlantic salmon cannot breed with any of the Pacific salmon species; they are distinctly different species and cross-breeding is impossible. New research has shown that fertile AquAdvantage® Salmon are ten-fold less effective in mating when compared to wild salmon in research systems. This also argues for their relative environmental safety compared to conventional practices.
Myth – AquAdvantage® Salmon will threaten the Alaskan salmon market, and the jobs of Alaskan fishermen.
Fact – The Alaskan salmon fishery is a successful, managed industry. Alaskan salmon are priced and marketed as a branded product. Approximately 70% of the Alaskan salmon harvest is sold in Asia. On the other hand, in 2013 the U.S. imported and consumed 233,000 tons of Atlantic salmon primarily from Chile, Canada, Norway, and the U.K. AquAdvantage® Salmon is an Atlantic salmon which can be produced in the U.S. in an environmentally sustainable manner, creating American jobs and reducing imports while ensuring traceability, food safety and security.