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Synthetic Biology and Regenerative Organic Each Had a Real Presence at Natural Products Expo West 2022

After having been canceled in 2020 and 2021, Natural Products Expo West returned last week to Anaheim for its 41st show, put on by New Hope Network.

While it was a very joyful time to see familiar faces after two years of hibernation, organic advocates faced the reality of having GMO 2.0 technologies becoming pervasive at their largest and most important gathering in the country, a shocking and incredibly disconcerting development.

Here are some of the key highlights, takeaways and trends from Expo West 2022.

WHY IS NEW HOPE ADVOCATING FOR SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY COMPANIES AT A “NATURAL” TRADE SHOW?

Despite the fact that this is a “natural” products expo, there were numerous companies selling products made with synthetic biology, or “precision fermentation” — a fancy marketing term to hide the fact that this is a very risky and unproven GMO 2.0 technology. Precision fermentation typically requires the use of genetically-engineered microorganisms, which are cultivated in brewery-style fermentation tanks. Needless to say, there is nothing “natural” about this.

The presence of these food-tech start-ups, such as Motif FoodWorks and Perfect Day’s Brave Robot, has many organic advocates very upset.

“New Hope has made incremental progress on racial equity and diversity issues, yet it has taken a big step backward when it comes to food sovereignty. With billions in VC cash up for grabs, it’s not surprising to see New Hope compromised,” put forth Errol Schweizer, industry expert and former VP of Grocery at Whole Foods Market.