Is White House blocking Frankenfish?

Except, it appears, when it comes to the fate of the first transgenic animal to be considered for federal approval—a genetically modified (GM) salmon developed by AquaBounty Technologies of Massachusetts. The so-called AquAdvantage salmon is a fish that has been modified to grow to market size in about half the usual time. It’s raised in contained structures that eliminate many of the environmental effects that make farmed salmon unpopular with some environmentalists, including the generation of excess waste and the potential to spread disease or escape and compete with wild salmon.

The bioengineered salmon has been winding its way through a labyrinthine approval process for 17 years. And it’s been in regulatory purgatory for more than two years since the Food and Drug Administration held public hearings—and promised a final determination within weeks.

As recently as last week, a spokeswoman for the Food and Drug Administration told me, “The application is still under review.” But that’s not the whole story.

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