The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved genetically engineered salmon to be farmed for human consumption. This is the first time an animal with scientifically modified DNA has been approved by the FDA.

As a leading provider of business intelligence, is pleased to offer insights into what this means for the food industry. In this particular case, FDA approval comes with a condition that the salmon only be raised in two specific land-based, contained hatchery tanks, one in Canada and the other in Panama. The salmon is developed by AquaBounty Technologies, and they claim that the salmon is as nutritious as conventionally raised Atlantic salmon. Chief Executive Ronald Stotish said that the approval is a "game-changer that brings healthy and nutritious food to consumers in an environmentally responsible manner without damaging the ocean and other marine habitats."

The approval of the salmon is considered a key step in moving towards the acceptance of genetically modified chickens, pigs, and cows, which are already under development. In the U.S., 80% to 90% of key crops are grown from genetically modified seeds, including corn, soybeans, and cotton.

However, there is still strong opposition to GMO products, including the newly approved salmon. Consumer and environmental groups have been working to convince retailers to pledge that they will not sell GMO salmon in their stores. Some are even talking to members of Congress to see if they will roll back the FDA approval.

One of the main factors behind the controversy depends on whether or not research regarding the safety of GMOs is conclusive. The research indicates that there is no evidence of any harm to human consumers in the almost three decades of use. But, opponents reject the research, questioning the validity and suggesting that the period of testing is too short to provide a definitive answer.

As of now, there is no credible evidence that the genetically modified fish are risk to human health or the environment; while in contrast, the current use of wild caught salmon is not sustainable.