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US Regulators Approve Genetically Modified Salmon

FILE - A worker inspects salmon fillets at processing plant. Genetically modified versions of the fish have just been approved by U.S. regulators for human consumption.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved genetically engineered salmon for human consumption, the first altered animal approved for food in the U.S.

The FDA's decision came after years of controversy over the fish, which is injected with a gene to make it grow faster.

The fish, called AquAdvantage salmon, was developed by the Massachusetts-based Aquabounty Technologies. The company uses Atlantic salmon and injects it with a gene from Pacific Chinook salmon.

Regulators on Thursday determined that "AquAdvantage salmon is as safe to eat as any non-genetically engineered (GE) Atlantic salmon, and also as nutritious," according to an FDA statement.

It adds that the approval of the AquAdvantage salmon "would not have a significant impact on the environment of the United States."

U.S. law does not require producers and manufacturers to label genetically engineered food. The FDA did, however, offer guidance for companies that would like to voluntarily label their food products, acknowledging that "many consumers are interested in this information."

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