FDA Greenlights Genetically Modified Pigs For Consumption

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Andrew Jose Contributor
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The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a line of genetically modified pigs Monday for consumption and human therapeutic applications, according to multiple reports.

The pigs, referred to as GalSafe pigs, are the first intentional genomic alteration (IGA) line the FDA green-lighted for both human meat consumption and for being “a source for potential therapeutic uses,” according to an FDA press release. (RELATED: American Company Greenlit To Sell Lab-Grown Chicken Meat Overseas)

“Today’s first ever approval of an animal biotechnology product for both food and as a potential source for biomedical use represents a tremendous milestone for scientific innovation,” Dr. Stephen Hahn, FDA Commissioner, said on Monday, according to CNN.

The pig are genetically modified to remove alpha-gal, a sugar found in particular mammals, that causes allergies in some people, the Associated Press reported

The removal of the pigs’ ability to produce alpha-gal will ensure xenotransplantation can occur more successfully since alpha-gal resistance is one reason some patients’ bodies reject transplants, the FDA release reported.

In its review, the FDA examined the safety of the IGA for both the animals and meat consumers and determined that GalSafe pig meat is human-consumption safe, according to the press release.

However, Jaydee Hanson, a Center for Food Safety policy director, stated that the meat from the genetically modified animals was not tested in people having the allergy, according to Associated Press. “You’re offering it up as something they can eat, without knowing whether it addresses their allergy,” Hanson said, Associated Press reported.

Nonetheless, United Therapeutics, the company behind this project, is more focused on its medical applications and has no “imminent” desire to sell the pigs’ meat, according to the Associated Press.