Marketing and Regulation
Soon, two businessmen from Austin, Texas signed a deal with the researcher to obtain worldwide rights to market the fish. Dubbed the GloFish, Yorktown Technologies introduced the fish into the U.S. market for the price of $18.60 on February 3, 2002. Before they could sell the product, the company was forced to complete a variety of risk assessment reports on the safety of the tropical fish. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration found that since tropical aquarium fish are not used for food purposes, the GloFish posed no threat to the food supply. Yorktown Technologies was issued a license to market the fish.
Other organizations have also completed studies to address the pros and cons of genetic engineering. The California Department of Fish and Game and the Florida Transgenic Aquatic Task Force determined that the GloFish posed no threat to their states and should be allowed to be sold. A non-government organization called the Center for Food Safety, however, launched a lawsuit against both Yorktown Technologies and the FDA, claiming the department had no jurisdiction in deciding if the GloFish is safe to be sold in the U.S. The lawsuit regarding genetically modified organisms was dismissed on March 30, 2005.
Further development over the following years also addressed the pros and cons of genetic engineering. Purely ethical questions regarding the manipulation of species for sale as pets have been addressed. As well as the long-term safety and cross-breeding potential of the zebrafish.
Yorktown Technologies continued to sell the GloFish, introducing new product lines including an orange version. This was met with skepticism by many governments, however. The European Union has outright banned the sale of genetically modified organisms within its member countries. The State of California has used its Environmental Quality Act to halt the sale of GloFish. Canada, too, has joined the growing audience of countries and states that ban the sale of the fish.
The GloFish is one of the most widely sold fish in the United States and much of Asia. Thus far in terms of its safety as a pet, the GloFish has not been shown to have any negative effects.