Want to know if the salmon in your supermarket was genetically modified? Tough luck. The Food and Drug Administration gave AquaBounty Technologies the go-ahead to sell genetically engineered (GE) salmon in the U.S. This is the first GE fish on the market. And the FDA made the decision to not require the fish to be labeled as GE.

“We are deeply disappointed with the FDA’s decision,” says Michael Hansen Ph.D., senior scientist with Consumers Union, the policy and advocacy arm of Consumer Reports. “And it’s even more concerning that the FDA chose not to require any form of labeling, making it extremely difficult for consumers to know if the salmon is GE or not.”  

To produce its genetically engineered fish, AquaBounty introduced genetic material from ocean pout, an eel-like fish, into the salmon for the purpose of speeding up growth. GE salmon, the company claims, reaches maturity in half the time of wild salmon.

According to the FDA: “The salmon are safe to eat, the introduced DNA is safe for the fish itself, and the salmon meet the sponsor’s claim about faster growth. Because the sponsor has met these requirements, the FDA must approve the application.”

But Consumer Reports scientists are concerned that the agency’s human and environmental safety assessments were inadequate. Potential problems include the possibility that the fish could cause allergies, or that salmon could escape from the hatchery and production facility. If the GE fish mate with wild salmon, they could threaten that population.

The Senate is currently deciding what to do about GMO labeling. The House of Representatives recently passed the Safe and Accurate Food Labeling Act of 2015, which has been dubbed the DARK (Deny Americans the Right to Know) Act by consumer groups because it would prohibit mandatory labeling of GE foods, and nullify existing state laws. If you support GMO labeling, go to ConsumersUnion.org/GMOsalmon to tell your senators that you want to know what’s in your food.