On November 19, 2015, the  U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first biotech animal intended for food, Aquabounty Technologies' AquAdvantage salmon. The AquAdvantage salmon is an Atlantic salmon that has been produced to grow to market size faster than a non-engineered farmed salmon, in as little as half the time.

FDA determined that food from AquAdvantage Salmon is as safe to eat and as nutritious as food from other non-biotech Atlantic salmon and that there are no biologically relevant differences in the nutritional profile of AquAdvantage Salmon compared to that of other farm-raised Atlantic salmon.

  • The AquAdvantage Salmon may be raised only in land-based, contained hatchery tanks in two specific facilities in Canada and Panama. Approval does not allow AquAdvantage Salmon to be bred or raised in the United States or elsewhere.
  • FDA will maintain regulatory oversight over the production and facilities, and will conduct inspections to confirm that adequate physical containment measures remain in place. In addition, the Canadian and Panamanian governments also will be conducting inspections of the facilities.

FDA issued Guidance for manufacturers who wish to voluntarily label their products as containing ingredients from biotech or non-biotech sources

  • For biotech salmon, FDA issued  Draft Guidance on voluntary labeling indicating whether food has or has not been derived using biotechnology.  Comments are due within 60 days of November 23, 2015; the link for comments will be posted here.
     
  • For biotech plants, FDA issued  Final guidance on voluntary labeling indicating whether food has or has not been derived using biotechnology.

For more information, please see the following resources: 

IFIC Snapshot: Animal Biotech
(Includes insights from IFIC independent expert Eric Hallerman, PhD, Professor and Head of the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech University)

IFIC 2014 consumer attitudinal research on animal biotechnology

IFIC Foundation: Food Biotechnology: A Communicator's Guide to Improving Understanding
(Available in 7 additional languages here)