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Synthetic Biology: The Future of Food?

The Environmental Health Symposium writes:

“The notion that high-tech, ‘farm free’ lab food is a viable solution to the food crisis is simply a continuation of the same mechanistic mindset which has brought us to where we are today--the idea that we are separate from and outside of nature.”-Vandana Shiva

“The only consumer we care about with our products is the hardcore meat eater. That’s probably why one of the first of these products, Impossible Burger, was engineered to ‘bleed.’”
-Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods

“My goal in starting this company is to eradicate animal agriculture by 2035.”-Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods

“Demand for vegan meat has soared, with retail sales of plant-based meat alternatives reaching $7 billion in 2020 — an increase of 27% from 2019, according to one report. Going forward, the meat value chain could be simplified dramatically, as ‘clean meat’ labs could take the place of farms, feedlots, and slaughterhouses.” Bloomberg News August 2021

“While we were distracted with Covid-19, lockdowns, mask mandates, and other conundrums, manufacturers of artificial food were busy at work creating the ‘new food economy.’ Since the strategy for getting pesticide-intensive GMO crops onto your plate or your backyard is failing (see Kellogg Commits to Phasing Out Glyphosate by 2025 and Bayer to Remove Glyphosate from Lawn & Garden Roundup Products) the world of evermore frightening fake foods is moving boldly forward.

Called ‘synbio’ (short for synthetic biology), this new technology promises foods that are ‘planet-friendly, low-input, low-carbon, methane-free, heart-healthy, high fiber, plant-based’ through a technology that can create everything from honey to lobster, cheese, milk, chicken, and beef simply from ‘plants.’

The most recognizable synbio is the ‘Impossible Burger,’ known for its apparent similarity to the real thing. Its ingredients are GMO corn and soy, wheat, potato, and coconut. Innocuous enough, yes? What the ingredients don’t reveal is the actual process by which the ‘real beef texture and taste’ is created.

The secret ingredient is a genetically-engineered yeast that produces a heme-like protein also known as soyleghemoglobin. And, as the company, Impossible Foods, declares on their website, ‘that is the science behind the impossible.’ Although growing a form of genetically-modified heme in the lab may sound a bit risky, the site clearly states that this technology is ‘safety-verified by America’s top food-safety experts and peer-reviewed academic journals.’”

Read more: Synthetic Biology – The Future of Food?