Target: CEOs of Haagen Dazs, Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Baskin Robbins
Goal: Stop newly developed synthetic vanilla from being used in foods
A new form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology is being used to create “synbio vanilla”, a substance that comes straight from a laboratory and could soon be inserted into our food. This synthetic vanilla is untested, unregulated, and obviously unnatural. However, companies such as Haagen Dazs, Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Baskin Robbins plan to market this abomination as “natural”. If these companies get their way, synbio vanilla will replace real vanilla in foods such as ice cream and birthday cake.
Since this is the first known use of synthetic biology in our food, it could set a dangerous precedent if it is allowed to be widely used and labeled as “natural”. If this occurs, other synthetic genetically engineered foods will be allowed to be labeled as natural much more easily. PCC Natural Markets reports, “Instead of taking existing genes from one natural species and inserting them into another, which is typical in ‘traditional’ genetic engineering, synthetic biologists create an entirely new genetic code on a computer, ‘print’ it out, and then insert it into organisms, such as yeast or algae.” Then this yeast or algae is re-programmed by scientists to biosynthesize a new compound called vanillin, which is essentially fake vanilla flavoring. Even though the scientists create a new genetic code on a computer and use a fermentation process found nowhere in nature, these products are still being labeled as “natural”.
Synthetic biology is a newly burgeoning field and therefore has little to no regulations. The health risks of synthetic biology are unknown and could be numerous. Synthetic biology has so far been used in things like beauty products, laundry soaps, and fragrances but could now make a major leap into common foods. A synbio animal feed has already been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with no testing or regulations. It was approved based only on the company’s claims that the product is safe. Undoubtedly, the FDA will not try any harder to make sure synbio vanilla products are safe for consumption. We need to make our voices heard and tell ice cream companies not to allow biosynthesized vanilla into their products.
Dear CEOs of Haagen Dazs, Dreyer’s, Edy’s, and Baskin Robbins,
The new form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology made by the company Evolva is set to be used in products like ice cream and birthday cake without being labeled as such. You have the power to stop the unnatural compound vanillin from being an ingredient in your products.
Synbio vanilla is new and has little to no regulations. The health risks of synthetic biology are unknown and could be numerous. This product is made by scientists creating an entirely new genetic code on a computer and inserting it into organisms. This is completely unnatural and does not occur anywhere in nature. As has been seen in many cases, unnatural products are often harmful to humans and other forms of life. This new compound would be easier to produce but is bound to be less healthy. It also would severely threaten the livelihood of vanilla farmers around the world. Please do not take the easy way out to make more money while harming other people.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kwekwe via Wikimedia Commons