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Ron Stotish, the chief executive of AquaBounty, countered that the company has more than addressed the concerns, and his product has come under much more scrutiny than most food.
"This is perhaps the most studied fish in history," he said. "Environmentally this is a very sustainable technology."
The company has several safeguards in place to allay concerns. All the fish would be bred female and sterile, though a small percentage may be able to breed. They would be bred in confined pools where the potential for escape would be very low.
In its environmental analysis of the fish released earlier this month, the FDA agreed with the company that there are enough safeguards in place.
Stotish says the fish would be bred in better conditions than many of the world's farmed salmon, and could be located closer to population centers to help feed more people. The company has also said the increase in engineered salmon production could help relieve endangered wild salmon populations.
The company is also arguing that the fish do not need to be labeled as genetically engineered, so the common customer would not know if they were eating the modified product or the conventional product. The second day of the FDA meeting will focus on the labeling question.
"This fish is identical to the traditional food," maintained Stotish. "The label could even be misleading because it implies a difference that doesn't exist."
At the meeting Monday, the FDA, the company and critics will present their findings to an advisory committee, which will in turn advise the FDA. A decision will come after the meeting, though it is unclear how long that will take. If approved, the fish could be in grocery stores in two years, the company estimates.
The industry says their job will be to counter the common impression that the modified salmon are "frankenfish."
"In the story of Frankenstein it was the fear of the people driving it, it wasn't the monster that was evil," says Edwards of the Biotechnology Industry Association. "If you look at the science and the safety and you look at the benefits, they become very exciting products."
Background on FDA meeting:
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