The first genetically modified animal — a salmon —could move one step closer to the U.S. market, as a federal advisory panel yesterday made its recommendation on whether such food is safe for consumers to eat.


Both Food and Drug Administration staff and the salmon’s maker, Aqua Bounty Technologies Inc., have said the faster-growing fish appears to be the same as normal Atlantic salmon and poses no threat to the environment or diners.


But consumer advocates, environmentalists and others have protested the move.


They say there is not enough data to show that eating it does not cause side effects such as allergic reactions or that accidental escape will not harm other fish. The agency will weigh the recommendations before making its final decision later.


Last week, various groups protested in front of the White House in a bid to urge President Barack Obama to postpone the public meeting or block the potential approval.

Aqua Bounty Chief Executive Ronald Stotish has said the company’s AquaAdvantage salmon is the same “in every measurable way” to natural Atlantic salmon and that taste tests have shown no differences.

Approval could also pave the way for other genetically altered food animals in the works, like pigs and cows.