AMES, IA – Through CRISPR and other gene-editing technologies, researchers and developers are poised to bring dozens – if not hundreds – of new products to grocery stores: mushrooms with longer shelf lives, drought-resistant corn and bananas impervious to a fungus threatening the global supply. A few, including a soybean variety that produces a healthier cooking oil, are already being sold commercially in the U.S.
Advocates say gene editing is faster and more precise than traditional crop breeding methods. It can address rapidly evolving challenges to produce food and benefit consumers. Critics argue this new technology could create unintended consequences and that government agencies must address the shortcomings of current regulation. Under current federal law, gene-edited foods do not need to be labeled.
Given the backlash over transgenic engineering for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there’s a lot of speculation over whether the public will accept gene-edited foods, even though the process to create them is different.