Monsanto-Backed Start-Up Will Soon Produce First Gene-Edited Fruit

Monsanto-Backed Start-Up Will Soon Produce First Gene-Edited Fruit

Agriculture giant Monsanto has just invested $125 million into gene-editing startup Pairwise.

The alliance may allow for Monsanto to introduce the first produce made with the blockbuster gene-editing tool, CRISPR. The CRISPR tool allows scientists to target specific problem areas within the genome of a living thing and tweak the DNA to adjust the taste, shelf life, and other attributes of the product.

Monsanto has long been criticized for its role in popularizing genetically modified organisms and for being one of a handful of companies that produced "Agent Orange," a carcinogenic herbicide.

However, most scientists agree that GMOs are safe to eat and that they have played a significant role in helping farmers grow more food on less land. Scientists are already using CRISPR to edit the genes of plants and animals to make them healthier and more resistant to heat and disease.

Monsanto and Pairwise aim to get some of the first fruits and vegetables made with CRISPR on grocery-store shelves within 5 to 10 years.

"Crispr is far and away technically more efficient and more effective at doing the kinds of things we want," Bob Reiter, Monsanto's global vice president of research and development strategy, told Business Insider.

It is partially due to CRISPR's accuracy that the US Department of Agriculture has chosen not to regulate close to a dozen crops edited with CRISPR as GMOs. Instead, the crops have essentially been given a green light, meaning companies can move forward with development.

Read more about this story at “Business Insider.

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Chefs Chime in On: Genetically Modified and Cloned Meat

Chefs Chime in On: Genetically Modified and Cloned Meat

By Courtney Walsh, West Coast Editor

The culinary world is constantly in flux, with new developments and innovations appearing every day. In this series, we offer chefs the opportunity to share their own unique insights into a culinary trend currently making headlines.

As the world’s population continues to grow, new efforts are needed to respond to the environmental impact of the meat industry. While many have attempted to address this growing issue by lessening meat consumption by emphasizing other seasonal and sustainably grown alternatives, others have taken to what have been criticized as "less than natural" methods to attempt to satiate the growing demand for meat.

Earlier last year, headlines began appearing reporting on the emergence of genetically modified meat and seafood. The modification process entails species having DNA material manipulated in order to speed up their maturation process, thereby lessening the time needed to raise each animal before slaughter. The theory is that this quicker raising time period would have less of an environmental impact as well as a more immediate economic return for the farmer.

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Part Two : Antioxidant and "Free-From" Beverage Trends

Part Two : Antioxidant and "Free-From" Beverage Trends

By Rick Zambrano, Foodable Industry Expert

As a continuation of the mini-series on tapping into functional, healthy non-alcoholic beverage trends to build drink business, we look at some examples of “free-from” beverage trend and antioxidant beverage trends. How can foodservice operators use the trends to build incremental sales for their operations?

Let’s explore….

The “free-from” food and drink movement is strong. There’s a clear propensity to avoid certain foods and beverages due to the inclusion of ingredients to which consumers are allergic or wish to remove from their diet. Ingredients, foods and compounds that many consumers include on the “to-avoid” list are fat, sugar, nuts, eggs, pesticides, gluten/wheat, GMOs (genetically-modified organisms), preservatives and salt. There are also consumers who believe avoiding certain ingredients will increase the healthfulness of their diets and even their bodies. Consumers, particularly those with sensitivities to gluten or Celiac disease, are avoiding gluten. The gluten-free market is projected at $973M, according to research firm Packaged Facts, and it could reach $2B by 2019.

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Vermont is on Its Way to Become the First State to Require GMO Labeling

Photo Credit: Shutterstock// Ira Bostic

Photo Credit: Shutterstock//Ira Bostic

There’s no doubt that our culture has advanced tremendously when it comes to demanding more transparency in what goes into our bodies. As we have seen throughout the nation in the past few years especially, there are crowds fully devoted to protesting the use of GMOs. March on Monsanto is a prime example. Now, finally, statewide motions are being set forth.

Last week, Vermont’s Senate passed a bill that would require genetically-modified foods to be labeled accordingly. And for all those foods you see loosely labeled as “natural,” the bill would now make it illegal to do so unless the product truly is “natural” or “all-natural.” Read More

Voluntary GMO-Free Label Approved by USDA

This week marks a huge step in the fight against genetically modified food (GMO). Chipotle has become the first company to voluntarily label GMO on their website, and were quickly followed by other large brands like Whole Foods, and Ben & Jerry's. 

Photo Credit: Eatocracy

Photo Credit: Eatocracy

Now the USDA has approved the first third party, voluntary Non-GMO label for meat and egg products. The verification seal comes from the Non-GMO Project, a non-profit organization “committed to preserving and building sources of non-GMO products, educating consumers and providing verified non-GMO choices.” The seal allows consumers to know if the animal product they’re about to consume was fed genetically engineered crops like soy, corn and alfalfa. (The FDA has not approved any genetically modified animals for the food supply, but some animals do eat GMO feed.) Read More