AquaBounty Technologies, Inc. announced that Health Canada concluded its review of the AquAdvantage Salmon (“AAS”) and has approved it for commercial sale in Canada. Additionally, the Animal Feed Division of the Animal Health Directorate of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has determined that feed ingredients derived from AAS do not present livestock feed safety or nutrition concerns when compared with feeds derived from other permitted salmon to be used as livestock feed in Canada.
Ronald L. Stotish, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of AquaBounty, commented: “We are pleased to receive the approvals of the various authorities of Canada, which means we can produce, sell and eat our AquAdvantage Salmon in Canada. We thank the scientists in the Ministries of Health, Food Inspection and Fisheries of the Canadian Government for carrying out their assessments diligently and confirming the safety of our salmon for both the consumer and the environment.”
Health Canada (HC), the department of the government of Canada with responsibility for national public health, conducted a comprehensive assessment of AAS according to the Codex Alimentarius Guideline for the Conduct of Food Safety Assessment of Foods Derived from Recombinant-DNA Animals. These guidelines are internationally accepted principles for establishing the safety of foods with novel traits. The safety assessment considered:
- how AAS was developed;
- how the composition and nutritional quality of AAS compares to non-modified salmon;
- what the potential is for AAS to be toxic or cause allergic reactions; and
- the health status of AAS.
The Health Canada review concluded that AAS does not raise concerns related to food safety. The Department also noted its opinion that fillets derived from AAS are as safe and nutritious as fillets from currently available farmed Atlantic salmon. Furthermore, the report produced by Health Canada noted that Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) conducted an environmental and indirect human health risk assessment in 2013 for fish products of biotechnology, which concluded that there was no concern for the environment or indirect human health from the contained production of these fish.
The CFIA Animal Feed Division (AFD) considered both intended and unintended effects and similarities and differences between AAS and unmodified salmon relative to the safety and nutrition of feed ingredients derived from AAS for their intended purpose, including:
- the potential impact of AAS on animal health and human safety, as it relates to the potential transfer of residues into foods of animal origin and worker/bystander exposure to the feed;
- the potential impact of AAS on livestock nutrition; and
- the potential impact of feeds derived from AAS on the environment.
The AFD also considered whether feeds derived from AAS meet the definitions and requirements of feeds as listed in Schedule IV of the Feeds Regulations. It concluded that, as of 19 May 2016, feed ingredients derived from AAS are authorized for use in livestock feeds.
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