GM salmon company losses mounting
Long wait discouraging investment in genetically modified food animal technologies, says scientist
AquaBounty, which is hoping to put its genetically modified salmon on grocery store shelves soon, is finding its losses are growing as it waits for U.S. FDA approval.
The company's net loses were $4.4 million last year, up from $2.7 million the year before. But the company says, thanks to reduced net spending and new money raised, it is still confident it has the cash to see its salmon reach the market in the U.S.
AquaBounty executives believe the FDA will approve its salmon -- the world's first genetically modified food animal -- this year. The salmon is modified to grow at twice the rate of other farm-raised Altantic salmon.
While the company is seeking approval in the U.S., its main production facilities are in P.E.I. and Panama.
Alison Van Eenannaam, an animal scientist involved in the FDA review, anticipates the long wait for an answer will have an impact on further investment in similar technologies.
"It will detract from investment in this area, at least in First-World countries, and move the technology to developing countries like China and Brazil and Argentina," said Van Eenannaam.
"[These countries] are going forward with this technology because they see the value of it in their agricultural production systems. And so, we're more or less removing the technology out of the U.S. and potentially Canada to other countries."
Van Eenannaam was on an independent FDA review panel which deemed AquaBounty salmon safe for human consumption and not a significant threat to the environment. That decision was released two-and-a-half years ago.
The FDA is currently gathering comments on its decision not to require a more in-depth environmental impact statement. The period for submitting comments ends Friday.