The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Symbio Vanilla is not Natural

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synbio vanilla to replace real vanilla in natural products

In Eco Childs Play, Jennifer Lance warns of a new product, Synbio Vanilla, being labeled as “natural” that is anything but:

As a consumer, I do depend on the term “natural” to identify products I feel comfortable feeding my family. I do read labels. Even my kids read labels.  I trust in ingredients I can pronounce and have heard of before.  Vanilla, is obviously, one of those ingredients that gives me assurance over the synthetic, gluten containing vanillin.
Now, the FDA is poised to approve an “extreme” genetically engineered version of vanilla called Synbio that could be allowed in products labeled “natural”.
What is Synbio Vanilla?
 Friends of the Earth (FOE) explains:
A new ingredient straight out of a petri dish is about to enter the global food supply in many of our favorite foods including ice cream. And like many of the products of genetic engineering, it won’t be labeled — instead it is being marketed as “natural”. But this ingredient is anything but “natural”.
This product, synbio vanilla,  is made via an extreme form of genetic engineering called synthetic biology,  and is on its way to market should the FDA approve it this next year.  Synbio vanilla was designed to replace natural vanillin flavoring from vanilla beans, which are grown by small family farmers in rainforests across the globe. Instead, synbio is made in labs using synthetic DNA and reprogrammed, genetically engineered yeast. This new synbio vanilla doesn’t come from a plant at all but will be labeled as “natural” on product labels.
Similarly to genetic engineered products, synbio vanilla has been virtually untested, unregulated, and is anything but “natural” or “sustainable”.
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Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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