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Crop Biotech Update

U.S. FDA Lifts Import Ban on GE Salmon

March 13, 2019

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a statement on March 8, 2019 saying that the agency has deactivated an import alert implemented in 2016 that prevented the entry of genetically modified (GE) salmon. During that same year, U.S. Congress instructed the FDA not to let the GE salmon enter the country pending the final labeling guidelines. This directive was given despite FDA's comprehensive analysis of the GE salmon's scientific evidence that proved its safety as food. FDA obliged to Congress' directions by issuing the 2016 import alert.

The deactivation of the said import alert came after the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) announcement in December 2018 on the National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard, which requires food manufacturers, importers and retailers to appropriately disclose bioengineered foods. With the USDA issuing and effectively carrying out the food disclosure standard, FDA believes that USDA has satisfied Congress' mandate and has therefore ceased the implementation of their 2016 import alert. This now enables the GE salmon, including salmon eggs used to grow the fish, to enter the U.S.

FDA pointed out their 2015 review findings that the GE salmon is safe to eat, and that it will not cause significant impact to the environment. The agency also encourages other developers of products derived from intentional genetic alterations to approach and work with them during the early part of their product research to determine a predictable and efficient way to regulatory approval.

Read the FDA's statement, and USDA's announcement on National Bioengineered Food Disclosure Standard for more details.