Healthy INSIDER Podcast 81: Synthetic DNA Labeled as 'Natural'

Synthesizing life at the genetic level has reached new heights, where companies can send DNA sequences to a third party to create organisms from scratch. These organisms can then be fermented and duplicated, and added to products, such as supplements, fragrances and flavors. And, according to Jim Thomas, program director, Etc. Group, companies are using this technology and labeling their products as natural, even though these ingredients were not made in nature.

Synthesizing life at the genetic level has reached new heights, where companies can send DNA sequences to a third party to create organisms from scratch. These organisms can then be fermented and duplicated, and added to products, such as supplements, fragrances and flavors. And, according to Jim Thomas, program director, Etc. Group, companies are using this technology and labeling their products as natural, even though these ingredients were not made in nature.

In this podcast, Thomas and Sandy Almendarez, editor in chief of INSIDER, discuss synthetic biology, a.k.a., GMOs 2.0, as it applies to the supplement industry. They cover:

  • How synthetic biology works, and why it’s easier than ever before to obtain synthetic DNA.
  • Why, according to Thomas, companies who use this technology feel justified in using ‘natural’ on their labels.
  • The implications this technology could have on farmers and ecosystem in the natural product supply chain.

Check out the GMOs 2.0 Ingredients Database (Beta Version) at database.synbiowatch.org.

This podcast was recorded in Santa Fe, New Mexico, as part of the annual United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) member retreat. Hear Almendarez’s wrap up of the event in the Healthy INSIDER Podcast 74: Supplement Ruminations in Santa Fe. And hear a podcast with UNPA member retreat speaker Peter Reinecke, principal, Reinecke Strategy Solutions in the Healthy INSIDER Podcast 80: Expectations in the New U.S. Political Climate.

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