Synthetic Biology: Rebranding Extreme Genetic Engineering

Center for Food Safety | May 5, 2014

By Jaydee Hanson

Some years ago, bread companies got the word that customers wanted more fiber in their bread. Instead of making more of their bread with whole grains, a few companies actually put in wood pulp and labeled it as “fiber”. Today, in San Francisco, a group of synthetic biology companies and a representative from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are holding a meeting called the SynBioBeta Cultured Food Forum about how to market foods and food additives made from extreme forms of genetic engineering as “natural” and “sustainable.”

Whenever you read or hear the term synthetic biology, remember that it is a euphemism for extreme genetic engineering.  This supposedly new technology is really just a similar but more extreme form of the genetic engineering of bacteria, plants and animals that has been going on for the last three decades or more.  Because it is an extreme form of genetic engineering, it should not be subject to more, not less regulation. It is the exact reverse of natural.

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