To celebrate the anniversary of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of our AquAdvantage Salmon for commercial production and consumption, we are posting a series of articles that have appeared over the past year and prior. The following article by Michele Henry appeared in The Toronto Star.
After a two-decade wait, the FDA recently approved the AquAdvantage salmon for sale in the U.S. Canadian scientist Garth Fletcher began collaborating with other scientists to create the transgenic fish in 1982.
He didn’t believe it would happen in his lifetime.
In fact, Canadian scientist Garth Fletcher, 79, didn’t even think his grandchildren would live to see the day when his creation — the world’s first genetically modified fish intended for the dinner table — would be approved for consumption.
That’s why the scientist is still in shock more than a week after an “out-of-the-blue” email landed in his inbox.
It carried the news that, after deliberating since 1995, American regulators had given their blessing to the controversial fish, allowing the U.S. sale of AquaBounty AquAdvantage salmon.
Fletcher began collaborating with other scientists to invent the transgenic animal in 1982. The road to approval has been obstructed by politics and bureaucracy, an ongoing lawsuit launched by Canadian activists, and the constant swell of heartache each time the salmon appeared to be swimming toward deregulation only to be slapped downstream again.
Fletcher, who has no current involvement with AquaBounty Technologies, the company that owns the fish — and who has garnered little publicity for his role in this invention — says he’s thrilled to see his creation get the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s first approval for a genetically engineered animal intended for food. Read the article.